2021 – Spring

Elective Reporting Topics: Investigating Injustice

Course Number: JOUR-UA 204, section 3

Day & Time: Wed | 6:20 PM – 9:20 PM

Location: Online

Instructor: Rachel L. Swarns

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

Unarmed black men and women killed by police, their last breaths captured on video. Asian Americans attacked on the subways, blamed for the pandemic. Multiracial protesters marching to defend black lives. Racial violence has been on the rise across the nation and growing numbers of demonstrators demanding racial justice are taking to the streets. In this class, students will acquire the essential tools in an investigative reporter’s toolkit while reporting on race 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 the present, learning how to use archival records, police and court records and online databases to deepen our reporting of the violence and protests occurring right now in our communities. We will spend the bulk of the semester reporting on contemporary cases and activism as we build toward our final project, a 2,000-word article that will illuminate how hate – and the battle against it – manifests today in New York City and around the country. All the while, we’ll analyze media coverage for racial bias and turn the lens on ourselves so that we can produce more accurate and thoughtful content.

Notes: Counts as an elective for the journalism major and both journalism minors.