2019 - Fall: Elective Reporting Topics: Investigating Injustice

Course Number: JOUR-UA 204, section 002

Day & Time: Tues 2:00pm-4:30pm

Location: 20 Cooper Square, room 657

Instructor: Rachel L. Swarns

Prerequisites:  Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)

INVESTIGATING INJUSTICE: Black churches burning in Alabama. Synagogues targeted in Ohio. Immigrants and gay couples beaten in Brooklyn. Hate crimes are on the rise in the nation and in New York City. In this class, students will acquire the essential tools in an investigative reporter’s toolkit while reporting on bias crimes and gaining a deeper understanding of the historical roots of our racial and ethnic divides. We will start by investigating an unsolved racial killing from the 1890s and move on to contemporary hate crimes in New York City, learning how to use archival records, police and court records and online databases to deepen our reporting. We will also analyze historical media coverage for racial bias and turn the lens on contemporary coverage and on ourselves so that we can produce more accurate and thoughtful content. The final project is a 2,000-word article that will illuminate how hate manifests here in New York City, one of the most diverse cities in the world.