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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Joins IRW, WaPo

By University Communications

The Washington Post Investigations homepage

American University’s School of Communication in partnership with The Washington Post and the Investigative Reporting Workshop announced Friday the hiring of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist John Sullivan. Sullivan will be the SOC Investigative Journalist-in-Residence, an investigative reporter for The Post and senior editor for the Workshop.

“The extraordinary alliance between AU and The Washington Post is allowing us to hire an award-winning, highly respected journalist who will give students practical, in-depth experience," said Workshop Executive Editor and SOC Professor Chuck Lewis.

"This innovative approach combines the academic expertise of a top communication school with the investigative prowess of an iconic journalistic organization."

Under the joint hire, Sullivan will leverage the strengths of each institution to prepare students for their future work in investigative journalism. 

His new role is part of the forthcoming "Investigative Reporting Practicum" project that builds on a longstanding, multifaceted partnership between The Post and SOC, which includes a full-time graduate fellowship, several reporting internships, and ongoing class content collaboration.

"There has never been a greater need for top-notch investigative reporting. As our world gets increasingly complex, we need to provide our students with as much real-world experience as possible. This expanded partnership is exactly what’s needed to take student learning to a whole new level," said SOC Dean Jeff Rutenbeck.

Sullivan's hiring by The Post is being underwritten by a Ford Foundation grant given to support accountability reporting.

"We are deeply committed to investigative reporting, and this model enables us to add a highly respected investigative journalist to our ranks," said Kevin Merida, managing editor for The Washington Post. "Holding the government accountable is core to what readers expect from The Washington Post."

Sullivan comes to SOC from a full-time faculty position at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In 2012, Sullivan led a team of reporters at the Philadelphia Inquirer in creating a seven-part series covering underreported violence in Philadelphia’s inner city public schools.

As a result, the newspaper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the preeminent Pulitzer award, also known as the "Gold Medal." Sullivan has also won other prestigious national awards for his influential investigative work, in certain cases leading to policy changes and for his commitment to reporting social injustices in troubled communities.

Sullivan joins SOC May 1, 2013. "Investigative Reporting Practicum" will be offered beginning in fall 2013 and will be available exclusively to SOC graduate journalism students.