By Robert Mento
The project has been around since 2005 when the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation created it. It is now available to every accredited journalism school in the country.
Some of the greatest journalistic minds in the country help with this program. Jacqueline Petchel is an award-winning investigative reporter, producer, and editor that is the current executive editor at News21.
She says, “I see it as my mission to make sure there are more people who go out after their successful college careers and pursue a road that allows them to ask tough questions and hold people accountable for their actions. ”
The former vice president for digital at BET, a founding editor of washingtonpost.com and the current director of Cronkite’s Digital Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, Retha Hill, acts as digital editor.
Along with being featured in many national publications such as NBCNews.com and The Washington Post, journalism awards contests such as the Hearst Journalism Awards and the Online News Association Online Journalism Awards have honored News21’s pieces.
In the past, national investigations on voter fraud and food safety have been reported on with great depth. This year, they are investigating how veterans have been affected by the war and other tragic events, and whether they are given the services and support that they deserve upon returning home.
Aside from traditional reporting, many different kinds of journalists are a part of this project.
Greg Kohn from the University of Maryland represents a large part of what News21 does: interactive graphics and website design.
When asked about what he found interesting about the program, he said, “the diverse backgrounds everyone comes from and learning about them and how to work with them.”
Petchel commented, “It’s probably my favorite newsroom ever after all these years. Everybody is so enthusiastic and everybody wants to do a good job. In some ways, they have a lot more freedom than normal journalists do because they can do whatever they want in this program.”