2010 National Project Team
This project was reported by journalism students in the Carnegie-Knight News21 program in collaboration with the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization.
Eleven student journalists spent the summer reporting on transportation safety in America. They traveled to nine states, the District of Columbia, Mexico and Canada, talked to hundreds of officials, industry leaders, safety experts and victims and analyzed thousands of pages of documents, reports and accident and investigation data from the National Transportation Safety Board and federal regulatory agencies.
News21 is a program of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to encourage excellence and innovation in the teaching of college journalism. The program is headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
Participating students included: Jennifer Brookland, Columbia University; Richie Duchon, University of Southern California; Ben Giles, University of Maryland; Charlie Litton, University of Nebraska; Andrew Maclean, Syracuse University; Stephanie Mathieu, University of Missouri; Tessa Muggeridge, Arizona State University; Ryan Phillips, University of California, Berkeley; Robin Schwartz, University of Texas; Aarti Shahani, Harvard University; and Ariel Zirulnick, University of North Carolina.
Students worked under the direction of Cronkite Associate Dean Kristin Gilger; Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of the Washington Post and now the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School; Knight Chair and computer-assisted reporting expert Steve Doig of the Cronkite School; and Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan.
Data analysis and support were provided by the Center for Public Integrity’s Deputy Data Editor Michael Pell and staff writer Nick Schwellenbach.
Fact-checking was provided by Zirulnick of North Carolina and Max Levy of the Cronkite School. Steve Elliott of the Cronkite School’s Cronkite News Service copy edited the project. Britton Halle, News21 Web developer, built the website. Lily Ciric-Hoffmann, Micah Jamison and Caige Nichols provided graphic support. Cronkite graduate students Brandon Quester and Jennifer Matthews provided Web and multimedia support.
Jennifer Brookland | Columbia University | fellow – National Project
Jennifer Brookland received her bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and studied abroad in West Africa. An Air Force officer, she conducted criminal investigations as a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Brookland received her master’s degree in print journalism from Columbia University and was honored with an award from the Overseas Press Club Foundation. She is pursuing a second master’s degree, in international affairs, at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Richie Duchon | University of Southern California | fellow – National Project
A USC Annenberg graduate fellow in journalism, Richie Duchon is a Dean Scholar finishing a master’s degree in online journalism. He also is the senior news editor of Neon Tommy, an online news site covering Southern California. Duchon is the winner of a national Society of Professional Journalists’ award for production work on Annenberg Radio News. He also worked as a reporter for the Cape Argus, a daily newspaper in Cape Town, South Africa, and was a host, reporter and producer at Michigan Radio, a public radio station serving southern Michigan. There he won an Edward R. Murrow Award for best news documentary.
Ben Giles | University of Maryland | fellow – National Project
Ben Giles graduated in May with a master’s degree in journalism. While at Maryland, he focused on digital and Web-based reporting techniques. He has interned and freelanced for The Washington Examiner newspaper, several small weekly papers in the Washington suburbs and Comcast SportsNet in Washington. A native of Maryland, Giles holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College.
Charlie Litton | University of Nebraska | fellow – National Project
Charlie Litton received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and spent two years as a sports editor for a small daily in northwest Iowa. He also was sports editor of the Atlantic (Ia.) News Telegraph and did freelance and stringer work for the Omaha World-Herald and the Iowa Associated Press. He is the winner of five journalism awards, including two first-place writing awards. He left journalism in 2002 to try his hand as a tunnel worker in Atlanta before deciding to pursue a master’s degree.
Andrew (AJ) Maclean | Syracuse University | fellow – National Project
AJ Maclean studies visual multimedia at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He is currently an intern at MediaStorm. While working on his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin, Maclean worked for two student newspapers, the Janesville Gazette and the Wisconsin State Journal. He also worked as a multimedia producer for aid organizations in Uganda.
Stephanie (Stevie) Mathieu | University of Missouri | fellow – National Project
Stevie Mathieu is studying convergence and multimedia as a graduate journalism student at Missouri. She worked as a reporter at a daily paper in southwest Washington for two years and as contributing editor to a small newspaper located across the Puget Sound from Seattle. A 2006 communication graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., Mathieu was born and raised in Washington.
Tessa Muggeridge | Arizona State University | fellow – National Project
Tessa Muggeridge is pursuing both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a special honors program at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She has interned at The Arizona Republic and worked on the ASU student newspaper and a creative literary magazine. She is editor of The State Press student newspaper, magazine and television station at ASU this fall. She also works for a nonprofit organization that repairs homes on Indian reservations in the southwestern United States, Mexico and Honduras.
Ryan Phillips | UC Berkeley | fellow – National Project
A Berkeley, Calif., native, Ryan Phillips is working on his master’s degree at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has a Mark Felt scholarship to study investigative reporting and where he works on a hyper-local news site launched by students. Phillips studied literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and then spent four years with the Santa Cruz Sentinel, where he was a staff reporter, page designer and sports editor. In 2008, Phillips led volunteer construction groups for Habitat for Humanity in New York City.
Robin Schwartz | University of Texas at Austin | fellow – National Project
Robin Schwartz is working on her master’s degree at the the University of Texas, Austin, where she has written for several university publications. She is currently working on a documentary about SXSW at a local media production company, Arts + Labor. Schwartz has interned at KUT, Austin’s NPR affiliate. Prior to graduate school, she worked as the assistant director at Casa Marianella, an Austin shelter for immigrants and refugees. She received her bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University, where she studied sociology and feminist studies.
Aarti Shahani | Harvard University | fellow – National Project
Aarti Shahani is a Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, pursuing a master’s degree in public policy. Previously, she was an adjunct professor at New York University and a Writing Fellow with Justice Strategies, a non-partisan think tank on criminal justice reform. Her public policy report, “Local Democracy on ICE,” was entered into the Congressional Record. Shahani co-directed the immigration non-profit Families for Freedom.
Ariel Zirulnick | University of North Carolina | fellow – National Project
Ariel Zirulnick graduated in May with a degree in journalism and international studies. She wrote and worked as the section editor for the state and national desk at the University of North Carolina student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, and interned for newspapers in Washington and Jerusalem. She also spent a semester in Jerusalem studying the Arab-Israeli conflict. She is interning at the Christian Science Monitor on its international desk.
Web and Multimedia Support
AJ Maclean of Syracuse University and Lily Ciric-Hoffmann provided Web design and multimedia support for the project. Other students who contributed development and design services are:
Jenny Matthews – National Project
Jenny Matthews is pursuing a master’s degree in online and broadcast journalism at the Cronkite School. She is a multimedia producer for the Web publication of Cronkite News Service. She also directs the live, half-hour student news program, Cronkite NewsWatch, twice a week. Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University.
Brandon Quester – National Project
Brandon Quester is pursuing his master’s degree at the Cronkite School. Since receiving his undergraduate degree from Cronkite in 2005, he has worked as a freelance photographer and full-time reporter/photographer/ multimedia specialist. He most recently worked at the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle.
Kristin Gilger | ASU Cronkite School of Journalism | Associate Dean
Kristin Gilger is associate dean in charge of professional programs for the Cronkite School. Gilger was director of Student Media at ASU from 2002-2007, directing student publications. Before coming to the university, she served as deputy managing editor for news at The Arizona Republic. She also served as managing editor of The Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem, Ore., and in various editing positions at the Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans. Gilger received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Nebraska.
Leonard Downie Jr. | ASU Cronkite School of Journalism | Weil Family Professor of Journalism
Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Cronkite School, is vice president-at-large at The Washington Post, where he served as executive editor from 1991 to 2008. He helped supervise the Post’s groundbreaking Watergate coverage as deputy metro editor and later worked as assistant managing editor for metropolitan news, London correspondent, national editor and managing editor. Downie earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ohio State University. He is the author of four non-fiction books and a novel.
Steve Doig | ASU Cronkite School of Journalism | Professor, Knight Chair in Journalism
Steve Doig holds the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Cronkite School, specializing in computer-assisted reporting. He joined the ASU faculty in 1996 after a 23-year career as a newspaper journalist, including 19 years at the Miami Herald. Investigative projects on which he worked at the Herald won several major journalism prizes, including the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Doig is a political science graduate of Dartmouth College. He also graduated from, and later taught at, the Defense Information School and spent a year as a combat correspondent for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Christopher Callahan | ASU Cronkite School of Journalism | Dean
Christopher Callahan is the founding dean of the Cronkite School. He came to ASU in August 2005 from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, where he served as associate dean. Callahan was previously a Washington correspondent specializing in political and government coverage for The Associated Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s School of Public Communication and a master’s degree in public affairs from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 2010, Callahan was named the Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Administrator of the Year.
Michael Pell | The Center for Public Integrity | Deputy Data Editor
Michael Pell joined the Center’s staff in December 2007. From 2002 to 2006, as a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times in upstate New York, Pell covered local politics, the Canadian border and environmental issues related to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. He then went to the University of Missouri School of Journalism to study computer-assisted reporting. In 2007 he was a Pulliam Fellow at The Arizona Republic.
Nick Schwellenbach | The Center for Public Integrity | Staff Writer
Prior to joining the Center as a staff writer, Nick Schwellenbach was an investigator at the nonprofit Project On Government Oversight, where he investigated national security-related corruption and waste. He recently returned to the project to become director of investigations. Schwellenbach previously reported for the Nieman Watchdog, a project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He received a master’s degree in journalism at American University and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Texas-Austin.