This collaboration will produce a stronger, more innovative, data savvy, and ethical generation of investigative journalists with a shared sense of purpose
Morehouse College today announced its partnership with the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting (the Society), which focuses on increasing and retaining journalists and editors of color in the field of investigative reporting. Serving as advisers and mentors, the Society will have an on-campus presence at the College to prepare Morehouse students for ethical careers in journalism through skills building in investigative and social justice reporting. Co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones; Ron Nixon, vice president of news and head of investigations, enterprise, partnerships and grants at The Associated Press; Topher Sanders, an award-winning investigative reporter at ProPublica; and Corey Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at ProPublica who is no longer with the Society, the Society will also facilitate greater access to internships, scholarships, graduate school placements, and employment opportunities. The search for an on-campus executive director for the Ida B. Wells Society at Morehouse College is actively underway.
The Society, formerly at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be based on Morehouse’s campus and officially launched during an on-campus ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 16 with Hannah-Jones and Nixon alongside Morehouse journalism students, faculty, and staff.
“I am very excited to announce that Morehouse College will be the new home of the Ida B. Wells Society,” Hannah-Jones said. “This partnership helps our young organization settle more deeply into our mission, which is to increase the number of investigative reporters of color. Being located on the campus of a historically Black college located in Atlanta in proximity to other HBCUs and coming to Morehouse just as it gets its journalism major off the ground provides a tremendous opportunity for us to increase our impact on the field and society.”
Founded in 2007 with a generous grant from alumnus Spike Lee ’79 and the late pioneering Black sports columnist Ralph Wiley, the Journalism and Sports program became an official degree-granting major in July of 2021, offering a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in Sports, Culture and Social Justice. Students participate in foundational courses such as news writing, sports reporting, multimedia and visual storytelling, and mass media law. Allied with the Society, both entities share the belief that investigative reporting can help reporters go beyond the headlines to find the stories that define current issues and problems. Through the partnership, students will be educated about advanced technology, open records laws, advanced interviewing techniques, fact checking, backgrounding, data reporting, finding government data, story pitching, organizing projects, and following paper trails. The partnership also will teach students how to write compelling investigative narratives as well as provide guest lectures, career development opportunities, educational programs, and general support.
“Our journalism program intentionally tries to fill the gaps in media that rarely are populated by Black reporters and editors,” said Ron Thomas, chair of the Morehouse Journalism in Sports, Culture and Social Justice department. “Investigative reporting is one of those areas in which Black faces are seldom seen and there is no organization I would rather see us partner with than the Ida B. Wells Society as they attempt to solve that problem by training our own students, those from other colleges, and professional reporters trying to add to their skill set. The Society is a natural fit for the emphasis that Morehouse College and our journalism program have placed on social justice. So often, keen investigative skills are needed to unearth the truth when social justice issues are explored.”
This partnership brings together two recipients of transformative donations in 2021 from Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand’s 10-year, $100 million Black Community Commitment pledge.