Medill News ServiceWashington, D.C.
About Medill News Service
The stories here were reported, written and produced by Northwestern University graduate journalism students in the Washington program of the Medill School. Most also were published or broadcast by media organizations across the country served by Medill Washington’s unique news service, which focuses on how public policy affects people’s lives. Medill Washington also specializes in enterprise reporting, multimedia and online journalism and on accountability, using the power of the computer and the wellspring of the database to uncover misbehavior by people in power. The Washington program’s reporting has been recognized professionally by numerous awards, including prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Foundation and Investigative Reporters and Editors. Medill Washington students are fully credentialed working journalists getting real-world experience, a hallmark of the Medill School. Combined with their training at Medill’s Evanston campus and in Medill’s Chicago newsroom , the Washington experience has helped launch hundreds of successful careers in print, online and video journalism.
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About the Faculty
Edythe McNamee is an independent Director of Photography, Video Producer and Editor.
She was previously a senior video producer at National Geographic where she led a team of producers responsible for all video elements for stories in National Geographic Magazine. The team produced original video stories, partnered with and trained National Geographic’s renowned photographers, and coordinated with social and television teams to ensure that stories that originated in the magazine were available to National Geographic viewers across all platforms.
She was also part of the team that was named as a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for a special Gender Issue of the magazine.
Prior to National Geographic, Edythe was a video producer for Human Rights Watch in New York City, and for CNN in Atlanta. As a video producer for CNN, Edythe spent more time in the field, shooting and editing stories, and experimenting with new forms of visual storytelling as part the broadcaster’s new digital-first video team. She also produced video franchises, and collaborated with CNN’s digital writers to add video to their stories. The documentary and online story “Slavery’s Last Stronghold,” an investigation into the practice of modern-day slavery in Mauritania, was honored with the Livingston Award for Excellence in International Reporting, an IRE Award (Investigative Reporters and Editors), a Foreign Press Association award, and nominated for an Emmy.
Edythe’s first job after graduating university was as the first multimedia producer for The National, an English-language newspaper in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she lived for three years. She holds a degree in Photojournalism and International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ivan Meyers is a lecturer for journalism courses at Medill. He has been interested in the convergence of technology and art ever since he could get his hands on both. Video, film, audio production, computers and interactive experiences have been at the forefront of his mind since he was five. To his dismay, his parents wouldn’t let him use their video camera until he was ten. After tough negotiations, both parties agreed on the age of seven, and he has been involved in multimedia production ever since.
Meyers holds an undergraduate degree in radio/television/film, as well as a master’s degree in music technology, where he focused on immersive installation experiences. Between degrees, he worked as a production specialist in the eBusiness and digitization department at NBC News in New York. While at NBC, he ushered in a new era of video editing on desktop computers, and laid the ground work to transition the network’s video workflow to a tapeless environment. He has worked at various production and post-production capacities in the Washington D.C., New York and Chicago areas, and also enjoys live event production – most notably theatre and sporting events, despite his complete lack of sports knowledge. He is also a professional web programmer, data migration specialist and semi-professional computer science enthusiast.
Meyers oversaw television studio operations at Medill for more than a decade. In addition to video journalism classes at Medill, he has also taught video courses geared for journalists at other institutions, including the National Press Club, the American Red Cross and Georgetown University. After freelancing for many years, Meyers founded Out of the Cave Production and Technology Company, comprising a wide range of multimedia and technological offerings. He enjoys pushing the limits of technology, but is still categorically mortified by the concept and evolution of Big Brother.
Ellen Shearer is the William F. Thomas Professor at Medill and Washington director and bureau chief. She also is co-director of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative. She led the “Powertrips” investigative projects in 2004 and 2006, in which Medill DC reporters created databases of privately sponsored congressional travel as part of a series of investigative stories. The project won an Investigative Reporters and Editors award. She and her students followed up a few years later with “Pentagon Travel,” a similar investigation of privately sponsored Defense Department travel. She was co-director of the 2006 News21 project in which 10 Medill fellows investigated the federal government and privacy in the post-9/11 world.
She is co-author of the book “Nonvoters: America’s No-Shows,” has written chapters in five other books and is a regular contributor to “The American Editor” magazine.
Ellen is president of the Washington Press Club Foundation and has coordinated judging for the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual awards competition for more than 10 years.
Before joining the Medill faculty, she was a senior editor at New York Newsday, a consulting editor at Newhouse News Service, marketing executive at Reuters, and bureau chief and reporter for United Press International.
Contact: 202.661.0102 or email@example.com
Jennifer Koons teaches graduate students specializing in politics and national security and oversees Medill’s Politics and National Security Reporting Project at Northwestern University’s Washington, D.C. bureau.
She is a senior national security and foreign policy editor and a global storyteller with 15+ years experience covering the policies, politics and on the ground stories at the nexus of peace and conflict.
She has reported throughout the Middle East, North, East and West Africa and Central Europe, most recently for a Pulitzer Center series on Niger, Nigeria, and Mali to look at the high costs of global warming, overpopulation, conflict and child marriage in West Africa.
Previously, she wrote and oversaw coverage of global affairs, national security and intelligence issues for the Economist Group’s CQ. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, Huffington Post and Foreign Policy, among other publications.
Previously, she taught at Georgetown University and at Northwestern’s undergraduate campus in Doha, Qatar.
Lauren Knapp is a documentary filmmaker and visual journalist. Her stories have been featured on the The New York Times, PBS NewsHour, NPR, PRI’s The World, McClatchy, The Atlantic, and TIME among others. Her first feature documentary Live From UB, follows the trajectory of Mongolia’s contemporary political and social transitions through the lens of its rock musicians. She directed it with the support of a Fulbright Fellowship in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She’s focused her lens on social issues ranging from capital punishment to lockdown drills to fair chance employment.
Her current project, Passage, documents four women’s experience of transitioning into motherhood with a focus on how access to resources and support affect her experience. When she’s not in the field or edit room, she’s in the classroom. She has taught at Georgetown University, Northwestern University, and George Mason University. Lauren holds a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Grinnell College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University.
Eric Pianin is a veteran newspaper and website reporter and editor with wide-ranging experience in budget, economic, health care and environmental issues. Pianin, a native of Detroit, has spent much of his journalism career in Washington, first as a correspondent for the Minneapolis Tribune and then as a city hall and congressional reporter and editor for The Washington Post. During his nearly 30-year career with the Post, he wrote extensively on federal budget and tax issues, homeland security, the environment and national politics. And as a political editor on the Post’s former website, washingtonpost.com, he helped supervise coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign.
Pianin left the Post in 2009 and briefly worked as a congressional correspondent for Kaiser Health News before going on to co-found The Fiscal Times, a digital news, analysis and opinion service with offices in New York and Washington. During his eight years with the publication, Pianin wrote extensively on the federal budget, economic issues, health care and domestic politics. Pianin received his B.A. from Michigan State University and his M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He and George Hager wrote the book “Mirage: Why Neither Democrats Nor Republicans Can Balance the Budget, End the Deficit, and Satisfy the Public.”
Janet Adamy is a news editor in the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau who writes about demographics and the economy. She was part of a team that won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for the “Medicare Unmasked” series, and she led the “Prescribed” video tour of the Affordable Care Act that was nominated for an Emmy in 2014. She previously oversaw coverage of health policy for the Journal, and also worked as a corporate beat reporter in Chicago. Janet holds an English degree from the University of Michigan, where she delivered the commencement address on behalf of her class.
Brooke Brower is the managing editor of CNN Politics, leading the content and coverage plans for a team of nearly fifty editors and reporters. He joined CNN in the fall of 2016 as a senior producer in the network’s political unit, working with anchors and correspondents on campaign, debate, election and inauguration coverage. After the election, he helped lead the network’s preparation for and coverage of policy plans during President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.
Prior to joining CNN, Brower spent more than a decade at NBC News, where over the years he served as executive producer of MSNBC’s “MTP Daily with Chuck Todd” and “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,” senior political editor for MSNBC, contributor to NBC News’ First Read, and producer for MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” He was the lead editorial producer for numerous presidential primary debates, produced the first-ever bilingual presidential town hall in 2015, and was Emmy-nominated as part of NBC News’ coverage of President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
Earlier in his career he covered Capitol Hill for Congressional Quarterly and was a producer for the ABC News political unit, where he co-authored “The Note.”
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Brower graduated from the University of Virginia and received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. From 2010 to 2016, he co-taught a political reporting class at Georgetown University. In 2015, he became a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jeff Hertrick, Director, Digital Video Operations, National Geographic:
Jeff has over 30 years of award-winning video production experience, including the last 15 years at National Geographic. There, he has been responsible for digital video production for its news department, and National Geographic Magazine. The videos are published on the Nat Geo website, YouTube and re-versioned for other platforms, including Facebook, and Snapchat. He has also hired freelancers around the world for short-form video storytelling. Past work has included day-to-day managing of National Geographic’s YouTube publishing at its inception 10 years ago, and producing for the Nat Geo Channel. As Director of Digital Video Operations, he currently oversees video delivery to National Geographic’s many international partners, and the technical aspects of video production.
Jeff was Senior Producer and Washington Bureau Chief for the Discovery Science Channel’s Daily News Show. He also spent 5 years at Washington’s regional cable news channel, NewsChannel 8, as Executive Producer and Senior Producer.
He has served twice as a TV News Director, anchored TV newscasts, line produced, reported, executive produced, shot video and edited at several TV stations in Georgia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Winner of a CINE Golden Eagle, Cable Ace Award, numerous Associated Press Broadcast Awards and a News Emmy nomination, he also worked 3 years as a radio news reporter, anchor and producer/editor. He also taught at West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, where he earned his B.S. in Journalism.
While he has reported from the White House, Capitol Hill, the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and a Democratic National Convention, he names as his most memorable reporting experiences, covering Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and the killing floods of 1985 in northern West Virginia. “Human created news, like politics and crime, gets most of the attention from journalists, but it’s natural disasters that always leave the longest-lasting memories,” he says. “At National Geographic, by far the most memorable reporting I did was creating our retrospective video about the Japan tsunami of 2011.”
Outside of his career, Jeff volunteers as President of the National Geographic Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, where he has served on the Board for 13 years. And he briefly served as executive director of an AIDS service organization in West Virginia.
Jessica Stahl is deputy editor for news audience and executive producer for audio at The Washington Post. She has been at The Post four years, during which time she has focused on growing audiences and building communities through emerging digital platforms – most recently transitioning to focus on audio platforms. The Washington Post’s audio team produces some of the top podcasts in the country, including “Can He Do That?” and “Constitutional.” And The Post’s co-production with APM Reports, “Historically Black,” won recognition from the Society of Features Journalism and the Shorty Awards. The Post was also one of the first news organizations to produce audio specifically for voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and now produces “The Daily 202s’ Big Idea” daily audio briefing.
Jessica’s work at The Post has also focused on other digital and social platforms, and her team won an Edward R. Murrow Award for its social-first coverage of the 2016 presidential elections – coverage that combined on-the-ground reporting and visual branding to create native experiences for audiences across more than a dozen social platforms.
Previously she was the first social media editor for Voice of America, focusing on reaching radio audiences in some of the most difficult-to-access countries in the world and creating targeted projects to engage those audiences, including overhauling and editing VOA’s reporting for international students.
Originally from New York, Jessica has an MA from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and an AB from Princeton University.
Mark has been a journalist for 20 years, and he’s currently the editor-in-chief of The Voyage Report, a news startup covering travel and transportation issues. As a freelance correspondent at CBS News for three years, Mark covered stories across the U.S. and from Peru, Australia, and Taiwan. He’s also a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter who has taught journalism in Washington, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Paul Overberg is a data reporter at the Wall Street Journal and a member of its investigative team. He focuses on economic and demographic stories but helps reporters working on many beats.
He has taught data journalism at American University and served as a senior fellow at the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California. He speaks and teaches frequently at programs run by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Associated Press Media Editors and the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State.
He worked on USA TODAY’s newsroom data team for many years, collaborating on projects that won the Philip Meyer Award for Precision Journalism and the National Headliner Award, among others.
He had earlier worked at Gannett News Service as health and science editor and began his professional career at The Courier-News in Bridgewater, N.J.
He graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., majoring in history and serving as managing editor at the Rutgers Daily Targum, the student-run newspaper.
About the STAFF
Joie Chen is Director of Washington Programs for Medill. A double Medill alumna, Chen began her career in Charleston, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. She moved to CNN International, anchoring news programs aimed at Asia prime-time hours and later joined the flagship network, CNN, as anchor on several shows, including the prime-time evening news program “The World Today” and the daily town hall program “Talk Back Live.” She won the first of her two Emmys as anchor of the network’s coverage of the Olympic Park Bombing. Chen joined CBS News in Washington in 2002 as a correspondent for all of the network’s news programs. At the launch of Al Jazeera America, Chen joined the network as anchor of “America Tonight.” She was Emmy-nominated for individual achievement in writing for her work on documentary of the lynching of Emmett Till. Chen most recently has been a consultant and host for CNN’s Courageous brand studios.
Wafaa Hussein is the Office Manager at Medill DC and she has been with Medill for almost 8 years. Wafaa manages the business and office side of the newsroom. She handles reimbursements, student/staff travel and student preparations for every quarter.
Many students past and present have enjoyed the candy jar in Wafaa’s office.