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Georgetown J-class investigating murder of Daniel Pearl

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cadet, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Via Romenesko:

    The article goes into detail about the students' reporting methods, which are pretty interesting. Also interesting: the class of 20 is predominately female and their families are 'worried' about their work.

    The instructor of the class was a coworker and close friend of Pearl. So when does this become less about journalism and more about justice/vengence? And is that appropriate in a journalism school?
  2. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    A couple things:

    The writer/story repeatedly refers to 'Danny' Pearl (never 'Daniel'), which is how the teacher refers to him in the quotes. Did the writer not do any independent research to learn the non-close-friend version of his name?

    I don't see the justice/vengeance problem, it's an open FBI investigation. Not uncommon for J-schools....Dershowitz was legendary for this (see Claus von Bulow). There was a similar project (can't recall the school, maybe Northwestern) that investigated death row verdicts and got a bunch overturned.

    I wonder how this ended up in Marie-Claire (other than the class being predominantly female and the teacher wearing pink Uggs).
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    The guy at Northwestern is David Protess. He's had classes of students work to overturn murder convictions. He has gotten a handful of murder convictions overturned.

    These types of investigative reporters often have an agenda. It's only a problem if they end up reporting something untrue or purposely skew information and present a biased view because of their agenda. Otherwise, they are picking away at things others have forgotten about and are acting as voices for people who would otherwise be ignored. It's in the same tradition as the muckrakers of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, such as Sinclair Lewis and Nelly Bly.

    In Protess' case, he doesn't just do this work as a passive observer. He's more of a crusader. He even has taken prize money he's won for his work and used it to start a program to help exonerated prisoners after they're released.
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