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McCormick National Security Journalism Scholarships Awarded

Medill graduate students to report on implications of landmines, other war remnants

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May 21, 2014 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications has named 10 McCormick National Security Journalism Scholarship recipients to participate in an innovative 11-week reporting program in fall 2014. Their work in Medill’s Washington bureau will culminate in an enterprise multimedia project on a pressing and topical national security issue.

The graduate students selected to receive the McCormick scholarships are Cat Boardman, Alexandra Hines, Michelle Kim, Eliza Larson, Rachel Menitoff, Melanie Saltzman, Matthew Schehl, Tammy Thueringer, Chris Walljasper and Kjerstin Wood. Carolyn Freundlich and Matthew McKinney have been designated as alternates.

The winners of the $7,500 graduate student scholarships will report on the national security implications of landmines and other “explosive remnants of war.” They will be supervised by Josh Meyer, director of education and outreach of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative and Medill’s McCormick Lecturer in National Securities Studies.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with these talented and enthusiastic student reporters on issues of huge national -- and international -- importance,” said Meyer, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times who joined Medill in 2010. “As armed conflicts rage across the globe and the wars wind down in Afghanistan and Iraq, this topic couldn’t be more timely.”

Ellen Shearer, William F. Thomas Professor of Journalism and co-director of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative, said she is “thrilled by the possibilities for great reporting and storytelling that this terrific group of students affords us.”

This year’s effort will be the fifth in which Medill collaborates with national media partners to publish a project across all media platforms while emphasizing the use of innovative multimedia and interactive journalistic techniques.

The project, formally known as the National Security Reporting Project, will focus on the deadly legacy of landmines, cluster munitions and other military materiel that have been deployed -- and are still being deployed -- in more than 65 countries, killing and maiming untold thousands of innocent men, women and children. It will also focus on why the U.S. government has refused to sign landmark treaties governing the use and cleanup of these weapons.

The fifth quarter specialization program in national security reporting, launched in 2010, is part of Medill’s larger National Security Journalism Initiative, funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. The program’s first reporting effort, “Global Warning,” explored the national security implications of climate change and won a prestigious national award from the Online News Association. It was published in the Washington Post and distributed by McClatchy News Service.

“Hidden Surge,” the 2011 project on the challenges facing the military reserves (including the National Guard), was published by The Washington Post and also garnered national attention. “Oil Change,” the 2012 project on energy security, was published by GlobalPost and featured on The Post’s website. The 2013 project on global food security was conducted in conjunction with USA Today.