Pulitzer Prize winning journalist speaks at Penn State

Story posted October 4, 2018 in CommRadio, News by Maria Coyne

University Park, PA - Washington Post’s Steven Rich spoke to a packed audience about the ins and outs of Investigative Journalism on Tuesday night. A graduate from Virginia Tech, Rich didn’t find his passion for journalism until after his undergraduate career. An internship with the Washington Post eventually became a job and five years later he’s still doing what he loves.

Rich says it’s tough to figure out whether the information the post receives is true. The Washington Post follows strict guidelines to produce the most accurate stories.

“Generally speaking, the post has a rule that we won’t single source a single story. We look to independently verify across several different sources,” Rich says.

Rich says his job is to lay out the facts and let people come to their own conclusions. Rich says it’s important to acknowledge the unknown parts of stories. The best piece of advice Rich ever got was to not write around holes in his stories.

Assistant professor of teaching in the Bellisario College of Communications Curt Chandler says it’s important for students to hear from people like Steven Rich because most students don’t know how many different ways there are to tell stories.

“When you bring in somebody who’s doing a very specialized thing like data reporting, I think it’s important for students to get an idea of what kind of temperament you have to have and what you need to be curious about to be a good reporter,” Rich says.

Rich says the best way to get started in Investigative Reporting is with stories of local interest. He suggested looking into the records of public school bus drivers as a simple story for young reporters.



Maria Coyne is a junior majoring in journalism. To contact her, email mvc5940@psu.edu.