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Carnegie/Newhouse School Legal Reporting Fellows to visit Newhouse April 20

April 19, 2010

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The four Carnegie/Newhouse School Legal Reporting Fellows will visit Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Tuesday, April 20, speaking in classes and then meeting collectively with faculty and students from 2-3 p.m. in Room 327 of  Newhouse 3.

The four are accomplished freelance journalists who are awarded up to $3,000 each, plus other benefits, to examine some aspect of the American legal system. The program also awards Newhouse journalism students positions as research assistants, so that the students can gain practical knowledge of reporting on the law while providing additional support to the journalists in the fellowship program.

The Carnegie/Newhouse School Legal Reporting Fellowships are part of the Newhouse School’s Carnegie Legal Reporting Program. Supported by a grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York and its Carnegie Journalism Initiative, the program provides a number of services designed to teach students about the workings of the American legal system and the role of the news media in covering the law. Additional funding for the first year’s fellowships was provided by Syracuse University’s Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media.

The fellows and their student researchers are:

Gregg Wirth
Freelance investigative journalist Wirth plans to examine the challenges company shareholders face in bringing securities fraud charges against corporations. This issue has been raised in the February 2010 federal district court case SEC v. Bank of America. Wirth holds a bachelor’s degrees in English and mass communications-journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, Salon.com, Dollars & Sense, BusinessWeek, Investment Dealers’ Digest and TheStreet.com. He won the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Reporting from The Associated Press in 1991 for his series in The Daily Herald about an illegal toxic waste dump in a poor neighborhood.

Matt Rivers, a senior broadcast journalism and Spanish major, is Wirth’s student research fellow.

John Martin
After spending more than a decade covering courts and criminal justice matters, Martin intends to look into the murder of a Midwestern priest in 2002. Besides investigating the case, Martin will also explore the phenomenon of false confessions and barriers to appeals in the judicial system. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His freelance writing has been published in Hearst newspapers and Bloomberg News outlets. Martin was a staff writer for The Star-Ledger, where he was part of the paper’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning team. He has also worked for FoxNews.com and washingtonpost.com.

Sierra Jimenez, a senior newspaper journalism major, is Martin’s student research fellow.

Trevor Aaronson
Aaronson’s research stems from the aftermath of 9/11. Since the terrorist attacks of that day, the FBI has relied on informants from Muslim communities in the War on Terror, even resorting to coercion and intimidation to force their cooperation. Aaronson hopes to create a database of these abuses as part of his project. Aaronson earned a bachelor’s degree in literature at the University of South Florida and is currently working on his M.B.A. at the University of Memphis. Besides serving as an editorial consultant to various companies, he has considerable experience as an investigative reporter at The Commercial Appeal, Village Voice Media and Creative Loafing Media. He has been honored by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists, among other organizations.

Alexandra Kish, a senior magazine journalism major, is Aaronson’s student research fellow.

Steve Miller
Miller is writing a book titled “Girl, Wanted: The Escape of Sarah Pender,” which documents the case of a female fugitive who escaped from a maximum security prison in Indiana last summer. Miller’s investigation of the case includes conducting an in-depth examination of the management system at the Indiana Department of Correction. A Pulitzer Prize nominee, Miller has 16 years of newspaper, online and magazine journalism experience working for such national and business publications as The Washington Times, The Dallas Morning News, CBS Interactive, People and Brandweek.

Sabrina Lochner, a senior magazine journalism and political science major, is Miller’s student research fellow.

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