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Investigating National Security and Environmental Change

Medill thinks big in a time of shrinking media ambitions

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April 21, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism has selected 10 McCormick National Security Journalism Scholarship recipients to participate in an innovative 11-week reporting program in fall 2010. Their work in Medill's Washington bureau will culminate in an investigative project on national security issues.

The winners of these new graduate student scholarships will work under the supervision of Josh Meyer, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who joined the Medill faculty this year to help establish the school's National Security Journalism Initiative (NSJI). He began covering national security and terrorism in early 2001 and, before 9/11, wrote several investigative stories about the increase in Al Qaeda activity.

"At a time of shrinking ambitions by major media outlets, we're planning to think big with our project and deliver a series of stories of real importance to the American public," said Meyer, NSJI director for education and outreach.

The reporting project will focus on the national security implications of environmental change. Top U.S. military and intelligence officials now say they consider the destabilizing effects of intensifying climate change and other environmental changes to be among their top national security concerns.

The fifth quarter specialization program in national security reporting is part of Medill's larger National Security Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the McCormick Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation.

The NSJI aims to find the best ways to practice national security reporting in the new media ecosystem, according to Ellen Shearer, William F. Thomas Professor of Journalism at Northwestern and Medill's Washington, D.C. program director. Meyer and Shearer, who also is NSJI co-director, selected the McCormick scholarship winners.

Shearer, who will be part of the reporting project, said she is "thrilled by the possibilities for great reporting and storytelling that this terrific group of students affords us. Finding new ways to engage and reach audiences on topics of national security has never been more important."

The graduate student recipients of the McCormick scholarships are Jessica Binsch, Lauren Bohn, Sarah Chacko, Sonya Elmquist, Emily Marie Huetteman, Charlie Mead, Malathi Nayak, Jacquelyn Ryan, Heather Somerville and Ann Snider. Alternates are Jessica Chen, Corinne Letsch and Nicole V. Rohr.

Topics: University