Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism

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Recent work from the center:

Single Systems: Great Lakes cities’ sewer designs mean waste in the waters

April 29, 2020

This investigation reveals that sewage from Toronto and other cities is being dumped into Lake Ontario, creating a health hazard for beachgoers.

Rising Water Threatens The Great Lakes Shoreline Too

April 24, 2020

As sea levels rise, the nation’s Atlantic and Pacific coastlines are eroding — putting homes and businesses in jeopardy. But climate change also is increasing erosion on what’s called the nation’s “third coast” — the Great Lakes shoreline.

Study reveals availability of ventilators per state prior to Coronavirus pandemic

April 9, 2020

With state officials either unable or unwilling to disclose how many ventilators their hospitals own amidst the coronavirus pandemic, a study could help Americans understand the availability of ventilators in their area.

Arnolt Center students help launch nation’s first county-by-county COVID tracker

April 8, 2020

Students spent multiple hours every day contacting each state’s department of health and, in some cases, individual counties to collect the data.

The data set — the only one of its kind being produced at the time — garnered more than 340,000 hits.

It’ll Never Happen to Me: An Indiana University Junior tells his family’s COVID-19 story

April 6, 2020

Lucas Sellem gives a first-person account of what it’s like to help care for his father who is currently ill with coronavirus.

New Orleans is one of the areas with the most COVID-19 cases per capita in the country, analysis shows

March 17, 2020

New Orleans is experiencing one of the highest numbers of cases of COVID-19 per capita, based on an analysis of data across the country by FOX 8 News and the Arnolt Center.

Investigation reveals inconsistent use of police cameras in Indiana, Midwest

November 21, 2019

The shooting of a black man by a white police officer in South Bend drew attention to the police department’s inconsistent use of body and dashboard cameras. The Arnolt Center and 16 News Now in South Bend investigated how police departments around the state deploy those cameras and how they comply with state law to keep police footage for a mandatory period of time.

The Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism teaches and produces high-quality investigative journalism.

Funded by a $6 million gift from alumnus Michael Arnolt (BA’67, journalism), the center is based in The Media School at Indiana University.

The center conducts multimedia investigative reporting on issues of importance to the residents of Indiana, including matters that reach beyond the state’s borders. The center’s work is available at no cost to local, regional and national news outlets and seeks to supplement their reporting at a time when many are losing newsroom staff.

Master of Science and undergraduate students do the reporting, providing them with an opportunity to learn in a real-world setting. Initial funding provides fellowships for up to four graduate students and scholarships for as many as 10 undergraduates.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan center will operates under a charter that guarantees its editorial independence from The Media School and from Indiana University.

For more information, email the center at

Apply to work at the Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism


Kathleen M. Johnston

Kathleen Johnston, a 30-year veteran of investigative journalism and a Media School professor of practice, is the center’s founding director.

Johnston, an IU alumna, has worked at numerous national and local news organizations, from The Indianapolis News to CBS, the Birmingham Post-Herald to CNN. Her work spans a breadth of topics and media, but her primary focus is investigative reporting.

She has won numerous regional and national honors, including Emmy, Peabody and Murrow awards. In 2017, she received The Media School’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Read more about Johnston



The Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism is dedicated to educating students in investigative reporting techniques and creating provocative, original journalism for the public in Indiana and beyond. As a working newsroom, it strives to protect the vulnerable, expose wrongdoing, and act as a watchdog in Indiana and nationally.


The Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism (the “Center”) is an independent, not for profit, non-partisan entity. It was created with an initial donation of $6 million from Indiana University alumnus Michael I. Arnolt.

While the Center is a legal entity of Indiana University and The Media School, it operates independently of any editorial influence. Specifically, neither the University nor The Media School shall have prior review nor decision-making authority over work undertaken and/or produced by employees or students working at the Center. Content produced by the Center is the responsibility of the Director.


The Center is tasked with producing high-quality investigative journalism with three main goals:

  1. Become an educational endeavor to train the next generation of investigative reporters.
  2. Function as a working newsroom that also serves as a laboratory in the latest techniques of investigative journalism.
  3. Preserve the enterprise of investigative journalism in Indiana and increase the frequency of high quality reporting in the state.

In addition to distributing work through its own platforms, the Center provides finished stories to media outlets free of charge for publication or broadcast.

As a teaching arm of The Media School, the Center offers fellowships to students who wish to pursue a career in investigative reporting. Graduate students accepted as Center fellows will follow a curriculum focused on the discipline of investigative journalism that also allows them to gain expertise in areas such as public policy, environmental issues, and business and finance. The Center will also award scholarships to upper-level undergraduate students interested in investigative reporting.


A Director will be appointed and hold a faculty rank deemed appropriate by the Dean of The Media School–in consultation with Media School faculty. The Director will, at the discretion of the Dean and faculty, be assigned to teach Media School courses relevant to the investigative journalism curriculum. Other employees of the Center, and students working at the Center, will work under the ultimate editorial direction of the Director.


The role of the Dean is to provide material and financial support for the Center. Beyond the initial endowments associated with the Center, the School agrees to use its development resources to seek and increase funding available to the Center. Additionally, the School agrees to provide space suitable to the Center’s needs. As the space needs of the Center evolve, the Center will work together with the School to find mutually agreeable solutions to space issues that arise.

The faculty of the School may provide advice to the Center as desired. The faculty support the articulation of the Center’s mission with the Journalism curriculum. The Director will work closely with Media School academic administrators to assure that educational objectives are being met. From time to time the Director will provide updates and reports to the faculty.

The Center will be reviewed under policies common to all Indiana University centers and institutes.


The Center is a non-partisan entity and operates under ethical principles that are conventional in the field of journalism. These include openness, transparency, and fairness. The Center follows the Code of Ethics defined by the Society of Professional Journalists. It espouses four key principles:

The Center strives for transparency in its operations and newsgathering. All Center grants and gifts will be acknowledged publicly. Stories that receive funding from specific sources will be identified as such.

This charter was finalized and approved by the Dean of the Media School on November 5, 2018.

Download a PDF of the charter.

Support the center


Joseph Coleman

Professor of practice Joseph Coleman covered Latin America, Europe and Asia for the Associated Press for 20 years and served as Tokyo bureau chief for five. Coleman had a hand in the coverage of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, the genocide in Rwanda, the deaths of Mother Teresa and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

Thomas French

Professor of practice and Riley Endowed Chair of Journalism Thomas French was a reporter at the Tampa Bay Times for 27 years, specializing in serial narratives. He won the Pulitzer Prize for “Angels & Demons,” a series that chronicled the murder of an Ohio woman and her two teenage daughters. He is author of four books: A Cry in the NightSouth of HeavenZoo Story and Juniper.

Gerry Lanosga

Associate professor Gerry Lanosga studies the development of journalism as a profession, prize culture in journalism and journalism’s intersections with public policy through investigative reporting and the use of freedom of information laws. He worked nine years as an investigative producer at WTHR-TV and was a columnist for the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis News.

Bonnie Layton

Senior lecturer Bonnie Layton has more than 25 years of journalism experience. Before coming to IU, she had worked as a designer, videographer, copy editor and graphic artist at various media companies, and she created a business called Video Mosaics, which produced public relations-oriented videos DVDs. She has guest lectured and conducted workshops on numerous technology topics for ONA, AEJMC, the New York Press Association and the Illinois, Florida and Indiana high school press associations.

Stephen Layton

Senior lecturer Stephen Layton worked in newspaper graphics departments for nearly 20 years, 16 of them at the Chicago Tribune where he was a graphics editor and a senior artist. He has won numerous awards, and he was part of a project that won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 2004. During his time at the Chicago Tribune, he contributed to three major redesigns and experienced firsthand transformations of the media industry.

Elaine Monaghan

Professor of practice Elaine Monaghan was a foreign correspondent for Reuters, reporting from the former Soviet Union, Ireland, Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia. She is coauthor of On the Brink: An Insider’s Account of How the White House Compromised American Intelligence, a CIA memoir that was translated into several languages.

Anne Ryder

Senior lecturer Anne Ryder worked as a reporter and anchor for 30 years at WTHR-NBC, WTHI-CBS and WLFI-CBS. She’s reported from Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Albania, Italy and India. She’s earned five national Emmys and has interviewed both the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa one-on-one.


Arnolt Center joins GIJN
October 28, 2020

New scholarship will support student investigative journalists of color
October 19, 2020

Arnolt Center forms partnership with Gray Media Group
June 12, 2019

CNN investigative journalism veteran appointed founding Arnolt Center director
March 22, 2019

Media School receives $6 million gift for investigative journalism center
September 6, 2018