DePaul Journalism Receives $20,000 Gannett Foundation Grant for FOIA Programming

Carol Marin and Don Moseley
Carol Marin and Don Moseley, co-directors of the Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

The College of Communication received a $20,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation to expand annual programming related to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reporting.

The funds will help DePaul’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence (CJIE) host its second annual FOIA Fellows training and mentoring program in the 2018-19 academic year.

"We greatly appreciate the Gannett Foundation’s support of our efforts to connect our faculty and students with the journalism community in the service of investigative reporting and ethics training,” said DePaul Journalism program chair Jason Martin.

The CJIE FOIA Fellows program provides intensive hands-on training and mentoring to early-career journalists in the Chicagoland area and surrounding states who work at smaller news organizations, with a special focus on journalists from underrepresented backgrounds.

The center is co-directed by Peabody Prize-winning veteran journalists and DePaul Journalism faculty members Carol Marin and Don Moseley.

"We are grateful that Gannett recognizes the work the center is doing with our DePaul students in the classroom and with young print and broadcast journalists in our FOIA Fellows program,” Moseley commented. “Uncovering the truth remains vital and this generous grant will help the center fulfill its mission of journalism integrity and excellence."

Marin, highlighting the relevance of FOIA programming, said, “The Gannett Foundation grant is a great gift on behalf of DePaul’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence as our students become increasingly more sophisticated in using the Freedom of Information Act in new and more meaningful ways.”

The Gannett Foundation grant supports fellowships that include stipends, travel and lodging for 10 competitively-selected fellows. The funds also allow DePaul to welcome leading Freedom of Information and investigative reporting voices to campus.

The inaugural CJIE FOIA Fellows program was held March 1, 2018 as a single-day event hosting eight young professional journalists paired with mentorship from FOIA experts. The inaugural group of fellows met with FOIA experts to receive personalized feedback and tips on projects and records requests.

Guests of the inaugural CJIE FOIA Fellows program included:

  • Jamie Kalven of the Invisible Institute, whose public records research was responsible for breaking open the LaQuan McDonald police shooting story in Chicago and for which Kalven won a George Polk Award;
  • Sandhya Kambhampati from ProPublica Illinois;
  • Donald Craven, attorney for the Illinois Press Association; and
  • Sarah Pratt, Public Access Counselor at the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

About the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence

DePaul University's Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence (CJIE), launched in 2016, promotes the highest ideals of journalism. It provides a nexus that bridges the academic and professional worlds by capitalizing on the resources of Chicago in service of its citizens.

Recognizing the important role of the media in society, the center offers training, teaching, expertise and professional outreach in newsgathering and related First Amendment activities. The center also hosts students and alumni of Marin and Moseley’s Advanced Reporting classes each quarter.

CJIE directors Marin and Moseley are among the most decorated and respected investigative and political journalists in Chicago and the nation. Their first-hand experience with the Freedom of Information Act dates back at least three decades and includes multiple Peabody and Emmy Awards.​