New Role is Part of Upcoming Graduate Education Project to Combine Academia with Journalism Industry

WASHINGTON—March 1, 2013—Today American University’s School of Communication (SOC) in partnership with The Washington Post and the Investigative Reporting Workshop announced 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 Jeff Rutenbeck, Dean of the School of Communication.

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 School of Communication graduate journalism students.

About American University

American University, located in Washington DC, is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. AU’s School of Communication is among the top communication schools in the nation. Princeton Review Best Colleges rates AU a great school for journalism majors and Hollywood Reporter ranks AU as one of the country’s top film schools. In addition, the school’s film and media arts program is one of only 13 schools in the United States who are members of CILECT, the international association of film and television schools.

About The Washington Post (

The Washington Post provides award-winning news and understanding about the politics, policies, personalities and institutions that make Washington, D.C. the world’s seat of power, and is a critical tool and information source for those who call Washington, D.C. home. In digital form, The Washington Post combines its world-class journalism with the latest technology and tools, and encourages participation and customization across all platforms so readers can engage with The Washington Post anytime, anywhere.

Media Contacts:

Rick Todd, American University

(202) 885-5935 |

Shani George, The Washington Post

(202)334 9207 |