David Protess Update

by Robert VerBruggen

From the Daily Northwestern:


Students in Northwestern’s most famous journalism class occasionally used questionably ethical reporting tactics while investigating potential wrongful conviction cases, according to multiple former students and other sources with knowledge of the Investigative Journalism course.

Among the questionable tactics, Medill Prof. David Protess encouraged his students to mislead interview subjects about their identities and intentions, party with potential sources, work closely with defense attorneys and attempt to convince eyewitnesses their original testimony may have been wrong, according to the sources.

In one 2009 incident, a student posed as a ComEd employee to obtain basic information about a witness. In a 2010 case, students used six similar-looking mug shots to suggest to a witness that his identification of a murderer may have been inaccurate.

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