Charles Lewis takes new role


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Charles Lewis, professor at American University’s School of Communication and the founder and executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, will retire from his faculty position Dec. 31, 2022. Lewis will remain with IRW as emeritus executive editor as the newsroom transitions to new leadership and continues its mission to hold the powerful accountable through original  investigative reporting produced by experienced journalists working with the next generation of reporters.

IRW Senior Editor John Sullivan, who is also a reporter at The Washington Post and a faculty member at the School of Communication, will become interim executive editor.

Lewis joined the AU faculty in 2006 as distinguished journalist-in-residence and became a tenured faculty member in 2009. He has taught In-Depth Journalism and International Investigative Reporting and mentored hundreds of students throughout his career. In 2014 he received an award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity and Other Professional Contributions from American University.

In 2008, Lewis, with Wendell Cochran, a former SOC professor and then-director of the journalism division, founded the Investigative Reporting Workshop, an independent newsroom based at AU’s School of Communication. Lewis also played an integral role in creating the high-profile partnership with The Washington Post for fellowships and a graduate  practicum at the Post.

Under Lewis’s leadership, the Workshop has produced hundreds of stories on accountability on topics ranging from the environment and health to national security and the economy. IRW has won a dozen national awards, trained more than 200 student journalists, and partnered with more than 35 newsrooms,  including The Washington Post, FRONTLINE, NPR, The New York Times, BBC America, Politico, The Weather Channel, NBC News, The Sacramento Bee, E&E News and many others.

Lewis, dubbed “the godfather of nonprofit investigative journalism” by PBS Media Shift, has devoted his career to nurturing and building the capacity of investigative reporting and nonprofit news. He is a national investigative journalist, a former ABC News and CBS News “60 Minutes” producer, a best-selling author or co-author of six books and the founder of two Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organizations, the Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Lewis is a MacArthur Fellow and winner of the PEN USA First Amendment Award (2004), the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence (2018) and the inaugural INN Nonprofit News Lifetime Achievement Award (2021).