“Impact Investigations” Series: Covering Race, Policing and Misconduct

Investigative journalism has long exposed police misconduct and uncovered the role and impact of racism in law enforcement. Today, journalists are documenting police misconduct and covering the national conversation about it – while also facing threats and a lack of protection at protests.  

The Fund for Investigative Journalism is hosting an online forum, “Covering Race, Policing and Misconduct,” on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 4 p.m. Eastern, which will include tips, lessons and insights on reporting these complex stories. The event is co-sponsored with the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The forum is the first in the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s new series of online forums, “Impact Investigations.”

The discussion will be led by Cheryl W. Thompson, investigative correspondent at National Public Radio and former investigative reporter at the Washington Post, and William K. Marimow, former Editor in Chief of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Baltimore Sun and former Vice President of News at National Public Radio. Thompson and Marimow both serve on the Fund for Investigative Journalism’s Board of Directors (Thompson as Vice President).

Thompson was part of the Washington Post team that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a year-long series on police shootings in the U.S. Marimow won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his series of articles on Philadelphia police’s K9 unit, and he was part of the team that won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of articles on police misconduct in Philadelphia.

Thompson and Marimow will be joined for the conversation by reporters who have recently covered race, policing and misconduct with the support of grants from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, including:

  • Maddy Crowell and Sylvia Varnham, who published an investigative report in the Guardian about white supremacist groups in the U.S. recruiting police officers to join their organizations.
  • Nancy West, formerly of the New Hampshire Union Leader and now at the nonprofit West’s recent report analyzing data from 30 years of police shootings sparked state legislation for independent reviews of such shootings, and she and several media outlets won a pair of State Supreme Court rulings last week striking down laws that kept police misconduct confidential.
  • Mosi Secret, an independent journalist in New York who previously worked as a reporter for the New York Times and ProPublica and has covered law enforcement from multiple angles. He is currently working on an in-depth investigative report.
  • Joy Borkholder and Jason Buch, who published a report in InvestigateWest on Washington State Patrol stops and searches, finding that Native American people are searched five times more often than white people. Their report sparked a review by the State Legislature.