On the morning of Saturday, Jan. 20, around 15 College of Charleston students found their way to a small classroom in the Stern Student Union and prepared for a 10 a.m. workshop. The Low Country Justice Project’s Kimber Marie Faircloth organized the event, and the workshop aimed to inform students on the processes and impacts of investigative journalism. Featured speakers included employees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and Doug Parker, an investigative reporter for The Post and Courier.
Inspired by the Medill Justice Project, The Low Country Justice Project endeavors to bring justice to citizens around the Lowcountry and desires to convey the real-world impacts good journalism has on justice, local politics and the community as a whole.
Students, associates and faculty at the Medill Justice Project have achieved a number of retrials and exonerations due to their pursuit of truth in investigative journalism. Alec Klein, a professor at Northwestern’s Medill and former Washington Post investigative reporter, described to students that in order to be successful journalists must one “be there and go” chase witnesses down in person. Two, “follow through” with interview questions and any evidence. And three “pursue stories relentlessly.”
Both Doug Parker and Alec Klein spoke about the impact their line of work carries. Doug Parker spearheaded an investigative series and focused on violence against women in South Carolina: a statistic the state was ranked first in. His efforts not only won the Post and Courier a Pulitzer prize, but also “changed South Carolina Politics,” bringing in a new era of transparency and action from Columbia to reduce violence against women. The work of Alec Klein and his students helped Kenny “Zulu” Whitmore escape solitary confinement after spending 36 years by himself in a Louisiana prison when it was discovered that he was being held because of a racial bias. Klein said that “the position [students] are in can have a real impact” as “…investigative journalism help[s] individual[s].”