Columbia Journalism School’s Lipman Center Awards $165,000 in its First Grants for Reporting on Abuses in the U.S. Criminal Justice System

August 05, 2021

The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights has awarded five inaugural grants totaling $165,000 to journalists and newsrooms for reporting on inequalities and misconduct in the American criminal justice system. The Lipman Center’s Initiative in Reporting on Race and Criminal Justice provides newsrooms and reporters financial assistance and professional collaboration to pursue major reporting projects in their communities on law enforcement, prosecutorial, judicial, incarceration, racial, and human rights abuses.

The grants will support six-month reporting projects and will cover costs for data acquisition, analysis, and visualization, additional staff, FOIA requests, travel (public health conditions permitting) or other reporting needs.

"We’re enormously excited about our inaugural group of grant recipients," said Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism and director of the Ira A. Lipman Center. "The projects they proposed cover a range of subjects but have the common theme of the critical need for reform in our criminal justice systems. I'm very much looking forward to seeing these stories reach readers and bring us closer to enacting some of these changes."

The 2021 grant recipients are: The Associated Press; Mother Jones;; Brittney Martin, 2021 Lipman Fellow; Futuro Media.

In addition to Professor Cobb, the members of the grantee selection committee were Nina Berman, professor of journalism and documentary photographer; William Grueskin, professor of professional practice; and Dolores Barclay, administrative manager of the Lipman Center and adjunct associate professor of journalism.

"The Lipman Center’s latest initiative is working to alleviate a problem faced by many newsrooms hamstrung by ever-tightening resources," said Steve Coll, Columbia Journalism School Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism. “These reporting grants will allow journalists to dig deeper into systems and institutions that have in various ways administered justice unfairly against the most vulnerable of populations.”

The Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights was created in 2017 with a gift from the late Ira A. Lipman to inform and shape the ways we research and report race, diversity, and civil and human rights in the United States and globally. This two-year reporting project is made possible by Arnold Ventures.

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