Investigative journalism class wins SPJ award


Cover of the North Coast Journal from December 2016.

Fifteen students in a class on investigative reporting started out with this question: What’s it like for students 
who live off campus? In Prof. Marcy Burstiner’s investigative reporting class, now taught as a special topics class, participants found and interviewed students who lived off campus. In their first round of interviews, they stumbled on six students living out of their cars, on friend’s floors or in campgrounds or motels. By the end of the semester they’d found six more, or 12 out of the 60 students they interviewed.
A story that started out to be about the quality of housing turned into an investigation that uncovered a critical shortage of housing caused in part by the school’s appetite for higher enrollment. The story they published in The North Coast Journal in December showed how the housing crunch interfered with the ability of students to get an education. It ended up as a finalist for in-depth reporting in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards for region 11, which covers four states.