Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication is establishing the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation Center for Urban Investigative Reporting, a program which will help students gain investigative journalism skills through reporting on local issues like gun violence, economic inequality and distrust in institutions, according to a press release.
The center is expected to open by the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, said David Boardman, dean of Klein College.
Klein College will fund the center through a $1.2 million grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Berkeley, California, that supports organizations advancing social justice through investigative journalism, documentary film and arts and culture, according to its website.
Temple’s Board of Trustees approved Klein College’s proposal for the center at their meeting on March 16, The Temple News reported.
Upper-level undergraduate and graduate students can enroll for courses to produce work for the center, Boardman said. The college may require students to receive instructor approval to enroll in courses for the center, he added.
The center will expand Klein College’s existing investigative reporting curriculum by stressing the significance of communication in urban environments and community-centered journalism, Boardman said. The college also wants to work in and with the community to report and provide solutions to pertinent issues, he said.
“It’s going to be a much higher level of community engagement and involvement than is normally done in investigative reporting, and these are the issues that we as an urban institution I think need to be most focused on.”
The college will begin searching for a director in August with experience in teaching and investigative reporting. The director will be selected by the beginning of 2022 and will help finalize plans for the center, Boardman said.
Jonathan Logan, the founder and CEO of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, is a longtime friend of Boardman’s and spoke with him about expanding investigative reporting at Klein College, Boardman said.
“They approached us on wanting to do something to support the enhancement of investigative reporting here, especially around this idea of urban issues and community, really community-based, community-engaged and solutions-focused investigative journalism,” he said. “Over the course of several months we talked with them, we talked with faculty members and came up with this proposal.”
Boardman tasked a committee of 11 Klein College administrators and faculty members with carrying out his vision of the center, said Linn Washington, a journalism professor and co-head of the faculty committee.
“What the committee did was just flesh it out a little bit, and then tried to put the vision into an operational frame, you know how the center relates to or interacts with the journalism department,” Washington said.
The committee also examined other investigative journalism programs nationwide for inspiration on how Klein College’s center will run, wrote Arlene Notoro Morgan, Klein College’s assistant dean of external affairs and the other co-head of the faculty committee, in an email to The Temple News.
The committee invited people from the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, the University of Toronto and the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland to give a presentation about their programs for guidance, Notoro Morgan wrote.
Student work from the center may be published on Temple-related websites and by local news outlets, according to the press release. Klein College is in the process of creating partnerships with local publications for the center, Boardman said.
Boardman, who has a background in both investigative and solutions journalism, always thought Temple could expand its investigative reporting curriculum and emphasize the role of journalism and communication in urban environments, he said.
Another one of the center’s goals is to train and produce investigative journalists from the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, Boardman said.
“Historically investigative reporting has been dominated by white males, you know, we’re certainly going to have plenty of white male students, but we also want to really encourage and recruit students from these underrepresented groups,” he said.
Washington hopes students will report on issues impacting communities encompassing Main Campus, like changes in neighborhoods, educational attainment, employment and crime, he said.
“I’m very confident that the center will be able to develop some really focused urban journalism,” Washington said.