BU To Launch Investigative Journalism Center

School teaming up with local media in first university-based investigative unit

Under the guidance of former TV station journalists and in collaboration with a regional cable news network, Boston University is launching a non-profit center for investigative journalism.

Boston is billing the newly-created New England Center for Investigative Journalism as the first university-based, multimedia investigative reporting unit.

Partners in the operation include New England Cable News, noncommercial WMUR-FM, and the Boston Globe and Boston.com.

BU students will be guided by center directors Joe Bergantino and Maggie Mulvihill, formerly of WBZ-TV Boston.

The effort serves the dual purposes of training journalism students, while giving news outlets a cost-efficient way of stretching their investigative journalism dollar.

“This comes at a critical moment in American journalism when investigative journalism has become a luxury rather than a necessity in too many newsrooms,” said Tom Fiedler, dean of the College of Communications in announcing the project.  “Just as medical schools serve the dual purpose of training physicians while serving the health needs of patients, we believe that Boston University’s journalism program can train reporters while serving the community’s civic health.”

Another goal of the center is to figure out how to deliver long-form investigations online. To that end, the center will have its own interactive web site, www.necir-bu.org.

Funding for the project comes from a number of sources, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.