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EIHS Symposium: The Role of History in Investigative Reporting

Anna Clark (ProPublica), Kat Stafford (Reuters), Stephen A. Berrey (University of Michigan)
Friday, January 19, 2024
12:00-2:00 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
It is not news that historians rely on journalists’ accounts nor that journalists often turn to historians’ research for background and context for their own investigative reporting. Since Charlottesville in August 2017, however, the urgency of these collaborations has seemed to markedly increase. Beyond signature initiatives like the 1619 Project, journalists and historians are collaborating in ever more fruitful ways, whether by working in tandem on investigative reporting, sharing op-ed pages, or appearing together on podcasts and other digital media. These projects demonstrate that journalists and historians can work together to produce public knowledge about the past—and hint at new possibilities for new partnerships. In this symposium, journalists Kat Stafford (Reuters) and Anna Clark (ProPublica) will join historian Stephen A. Berry (University of Michigan) to discuss how journalists investigate the past and what future collaborations might entail.

Anna Clark is an investigative journalist for ProPublica. She is the author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, which won the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism and the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award, and was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. She also edited A Detroit Anthology and wrote a slim book on the literary history of the Great Lakes State. Anna teaches nonfiction in Alma College’s MFA program in creative writing. She was a Fulbright fellow in Kenya and a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. She graduated from U-M with degrees in history of art and creative writing/literature, and also from Warren Wilson College's MFA program in creative writing. She has been a longtime leader of writing and improv theater workshops in prisons, detention centers, high schools, libraries, and beyond.

Kat Stafford is the global race and justice editor for Reuters, where she leads agenda-setting coverage of race, identity and social justice across the newsroom. Prior to joining Reuters, Kat was a national investigative race writer and global investigations correspondent at the Associated Press. She has received several awards for her work, including the National Press Club Journalism Institute's 2023 Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism. She was a 2022 University of Michigan Knight-Wallace fellow, where she published a five-part investigative series examining how health inequities have impacted generations of Black Americans.

Stephen A. Berrey is an associate professor in American Culture and History and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Jim Crow Routine: Everyday Performances of Race, Civil Rights, and Segregation in Mississippi. Berrey is director of the Sundown Towns Project and website, an initiative begun by James Loewen to document places that have intentionally excluded some racial groups. He is also involved with Singing Justice, a collaborative project of performers and scholars dedicated to centering Black music and Black musicians in American history.

This event presented by the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies in partnership with Wallace House Center for Journalists. It is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: History
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Department of History, Wallace House Center for Journalists