The News Lab is a partnership between the top college journalism programs in Georgia, along with the leading news outlets in the Southeast, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WSB-TV and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Through the News Lab’s unique partnership, students learn advanced reporting techniques, work side by side with professional reporters, produce major stories, and prepare for careers in investigative journalism. The project helps bridge the opportunity gap by providing students from our partner schools, including three Historically Black Colleges and Universities, training in investigative reporting, data journalism, and multimedia storytelling that is not otherwise available at their home schools. With that training, News Lab alumni emerge well prepared to join professional investigative organizations, adding diversity to news outlets and bringing important new perspectives to the industry. The region as a whole benefits from the watchdog reporting generated by the project. And by training young, diverse investigative journalists, the News Lab helps ensure that local citizens continue to have access to the information they need to fully participate in the democratic process and that underserved communities gain a voice.
The News Lab has a long record of producing important local news stories. In conjunction with our partners, we have produced a steady stream of high-impact investigative stories. These have resulted in, among other things, state ethics commission investigations, leveling of fines and penalties, resignations of public officials, changes in campaign finance law, exposure of questionable uses of expense allowances by county commissioners, revelation of widespread failure of elected judges to comply with disclosure requirements, exposure of Atlanta’s failure to develop mandated affordable housing, revelation of the deadly shortcomings in mental health care in Georgia’s jails, and unveiling of a decades-old system through which Georgia’s tax commissioners exploit the power of their office to charge “personal fees” for collecting city taxes. (A list of selected News Lab stories and awards is here: http://tinyurl.com/GNLstories)