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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

U.S. journalists demand investigation into "retaliation campaign" against founder of journalism school's Innocence Project



Poynter.org is reporting that journalists, scholars and others have signed a letter calling for an independent investigation into a "retaliatory campaign" against long-time investigative journalist and professor David Protess, who founded the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University.

Earlier in April, university officials accused Protess of lying and doctoring records, according to the Chicago Tribune. The accusations stem from a two-year-old request from prosecutors who subpoenaed the notes, grades and recordings of student reporters who were challenging the murder conviction of inmate Anthony McKinney, the Tribune explained.

Protess said he has not mislead the university and blames "a faulty memory for any inaccurate information he might have provided," the Tribune said.

In March, the university removed Protess as professor of his investigative journalism class, explained the Daily Northwestern. Protess said he will use the leave of absence to "establish a nonprofit organization devoted to investigative reporting of criminal justice issues," another Daily Northwestern article said.

The journalists' letter of support demanding an independent investigation said, "We call on our colleagues, especially those covering the news media, to join in investigating what is happening at Northwestern University. We also ask university officials to present themselves in a public session to explain their actions, and to answer questions on why they have endangered one of the premier investigative reporting projects in the country."



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