Xavier students pursue change through investigative reporting
The XULA Investigative Stories Program brings together students and veteran journalists to examine some of our nation’s most critical issues and how they're playing out in the City of New Orleans.
We approach every story like a puzzle, scrutinizing evidence and reaching out to those whose experiences may not support official narratives. We collaborate with media outlets and non-profit organizations, and, for every project we produce, our students are credited as contributors.
Students in the program study classic works of investigative reporting, then produce their own video, print, and data visualization pieces. They also spend time in the field with professional journalists.
Each year, the program will focus on a single long-term project. Students and directors will work together on these projects like a special investigative team in a newsroom—pitching ideas, giving feedback, and helping one another when they hit a dead end.
Advanced students can go on to work as paid apprentices on summer ISP projects. Internships are also available through the program.
Our goal is to equip Xavier students with investigative skills they can use not only to pursue their own careers, but also to promote a more just and humane society.
Helen Malmgren is an investigative reporter and writer. As a producer at CBS/60 Minutes, she won a George Foster Peabody Award, two Emmys, a Society of Professional Journalists Award, a Hillman Prize, and a National Association of Black Journalists Award. At Xavier University, she teaches the spring course "Investigating New Orleans."
The XULA Investigative Stories Program has been made possible by a generous donation from the Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee
The ISP's debut project, "The Desegregation Generation," is an interactive documentary that explores how the 1960 New Orleans school crisis shaped education, news media, and a generation of children in Louisiana. It has also appeared as an exhibit at the Tate-Etienne-Prevost Center in New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward. (See "Projects.")
ISP summer apprentices have been investigating the history of Louisiana's "Cancer Alley" and why some historic Black communities there have been pressured to abandon their property and leave. This project is currently in production.
The ISP has been invited to participate with the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Civil Rights Division to investigate some of the city's most notorious unsolved murder cases. This is a three-year project, conducted as part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations Program.