2023 Symposium


Feb. 23, Investigative Journalism Symposium

ESPN investigative reporter Paula Lavigne will deliver the keynote address at 5 p.m. on Feb. 23 in Presidents Hall in Franklin Hall at The Media School at Indiana University. Her speech will conclude an afternoon-long symposium featuring award-winning journalists from ProPublica, ESPN, Investigate TV and Capital B.

Full schedule:

1:30 p.m.                    Welcome

  • Kathleen Johnston, Arnolt Center director

1:45 – 3 p.m.         Investigative Journalism in Sports Reporting

  • Jill Riepenhoff, Investigate TV/ Gray Television
  • Steve Berkowitz, USA Today
  • T.J. Quinn, ESPN
  • Moderator: Mike Wells, Indiana University

3:15 – 4:30 p.m.         Emerging Models of Investigative Journalism

  • George Papajohn, ProPublica
  • Akoto Ofori-Atta, Capital B
  • Niki Kelly, Indiana Capital Chronicle
  • Moderator: Sara Sidner, CNN

5 — 6 p.m.          Keynote

  • Paula Lavigne, ESPN

6—7 p.m.          Mixer in the Media School Commons

  • Meet Our Presenters and Arnolt Center Board Members

The panels and keynote address are free and open to all students, faculty, staff and the general public.

The symposium is sponsored by the Scripps-Howard Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation, The Indiana Citizen, the Indiana Local News Initiative, the Indiana Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Indiana Broadcasters Association, Hutton Honors College and Gray Television/ InvestigateTV and held in partnership with the Bloomington Press Club, the Limestone Post, the Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists Indiana University Bloomington Chapter, the Indianapolis Press Club Foundation, Indiana Capital Chronicle, the National Sports Journalism Center and The Media School at Indiana University.

For people unable to attend in person the panels and keynote address will be streamed online: https://broadcast.iu.edu/events/investigative-journalism-symposium-2023.html

Speaker bios:

Paula Lavigne

Paula Lavigne joined ESPN in 2008 as an investigative reporter. As part of ESPN’s enterprise unit, Lavigne covers investigative stories that appear on multiple ESPN platforms for television and online. She has investigated sexual assault and other crimes in professional and college athletics, bribery in college basketball, fan food safety at professional ballparks, gambling on youth sports, fraudulent pro-athlete charities, athlete medical care, and many other topics in sports.

Lavigne has been recognized for her investigative journalism with several awards including a George Foster Peabody Award for her work investigating sexual assaults within Michigan State athletics, an Alfred I duPont-Columbia University Award for an investigation on a youth football gambling ring, multiple Investigative Reporter and Editor awards, two Sports Emmy nominations, three New York International TV & Film Awards and a Gracie Award.

In addition to her role at ESPN, Lavigne is also the co-author “Violated: Exposing Rape at Baylor University Amid College Football’s Sexual Assault Crisis a book she and ESPN.com senior writer Mark Schlabach wrote about Baylor University and its handling of sexual violence among students.

Jill Riepenhoff

Jill Riepenhoff is a senior investigative producer for Gray Television’s national team, InvestigateTV, where she has worked since 2017. Prior to that, she was an investigative journalist at The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio for more than three decades. Jill has investigated, among other things, naughty teachers, predatory mortgage brokers, slumlords, guardians who neglect and steal from mentally incompetent adults, and college campuses where rapes and other violent crimes are hidden. For kicks, she digs into sports and has written extensively about the dark side of youth, high school and college athletics. Her work has won dozens of state and national awards. She lives and works at her home in Columbus with her faithful cat-workers, Winnie and Binx.

T.J. Quinn

T.J. Quinn has been an investigative reporter with ESPN since 2007 and a journalist for more than 30 years. He began his career as a news reporter with the Daily Southtown newspaper in Chicago, then moved to the Salt Lake Tribune, where he covered growth and transportation issues. He spent seven seasons as a Major League Baseball beat writer, two covering the Chicago White Sox for the Daily Southtown and five covering the New York Mets for the Bergen (NJ) Record and the New York Daily News. He was the chairman of the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America from 2000-2002. T.J. joined the Daily News’ sports investigations team in 2002, reporting extensively on doping in professional sports. At ESPN his investigations have included stories on doping; swimming coaches’ sexual abuse of their young athletes; Vladimir Putin’s use of sports for his geopolitical goals; the revelation that Pete Rose bet on the Cincinnati Reds while he managed the team; the drug-related death of MLB pitcher Tyler Skaggs; and most recently Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia. He also led the network’s coverage of the London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016, and PyeonChang 2018 Olympic Games. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri and taught for seven years as an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia University.

Steve Berkowitz, USA Today

Steve Berkowitz is a reporter with the USA Today Sports’ enterprise and investigations group. Much of his work centers around helping to construct, maintain and analyze annually updated databases of college athletics compensation, finances and football “guarantee-game” payments. He assists other Gannett news outlets with their use of these data. In addition, he covers a variety of NCAA, federal and state legal and legislative issues, including Title IX, and he occasionally edits stories. He has been with USA Today since June 2000, and spent his first eight years there as a senior assignment editor for sports projects. Previously, he was with The Washington Post, where he began as a part-time news aide and, over a 14-year span, worked as a copy editor, reporter, night editor and assistant sports editor. His reporting beats included colleges, the Baltimore Orioles and the 1994 men’s World Cup soccer tournament.

Mike Wells (moderator)

Mike Wells joined the Media School as a full-time faculty member in the summer of 2022 after spending the previous three springs as an adjunct in the Media School and nine years with ESPN as the Indianapolis Colts’ NFL Nation reporter.

Wells wrote for ESPN.com, appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter and NFL Live, and was a frequent voice on ESPN Radio, where he will continue as a fill-in host. He also contributed to golf and NBA coverage for ESPN.com. Wells covered the NBA for 10 years—first the Minnesota Timberwolves for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and then the Indiana Pacers for the Indianapolis Star. He also covered the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team while also filling in on the paper’s coverage of Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League while at the Pioneer Press. Wells started his journalism career working for The Associated Press in Seattle in January 2000.

Wells graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. He also is currently a school board member in the Brownsburg School District.

George Papajohn

George Papajohn, who has led major investigations at three different news organizations, is currently Midwest editor for ProPublica. Previously he was investigations editor at BuzzFeed News and an associate managing editor at the Chicago Tribune. He transformed Tribune investigations, orchestrating stories that spurred impact at the local and national level, while creating newsroom-wide training efforts on watchdog reporting. He oversaw Hidden Hazards, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, as well as eight Pulitzer finalists in the investigative, public service, local and national categories. His reporting teams also have been recognized nationally with Goldsmith, Scripps Howard, Sigma Delta Chi and Robert F. Kennedy awards. Additionally, while at the Tribune, he was an editor on Gateway to Gridlock, which earned a Pulitzer for explanatory reporting, and a reporter on Killing our Children, a Pulitzer finalist for public service.

At BuzzFeed News, Papajohn oversaw work at both the national and global levels and was an editor on the FinCEN Files, a Pulitzer finalist, as well as reporting on the extremist group, the Oath Keepers. He began at ProPublica in 2021.Major investigations there have included projects on threats to democracy, policing in schools and Chicago public housing. He is co-author of a book on a school shooting inside a suburban Chicago elementary school. In addition, he has co-taught classes for Northwestern University’s Medill Justice project, leading to revelations that helped free a prisoner in Michigan. He has served four terms as a juror for the Pulitzer Board.

Papajohn graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University.

Niki Kelly

Niki has covered the Indiana Statehouse since 1999 — including five governors and around 25 legislative sessions. For much of her career she worked for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette but shifted last year to helm a staff of four and start up a digital outlet focused on state government and policy. The nonprofit Indiana Capital Chronicle hit the ground running and is filling the gap caused by decreased news resources on important topics to Hoosiers. It is free and also available through a Creative Commons License for media around the state to run. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosiers State Press Association for coverage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, criminal justice issues and more. She is also a regular on Indiana Week in Review, a weekly public television rundown of news.

Akoto Offori-Atta

Ofori-Atta is cofounder and chief audience officer of Capital B, a local and national news organization reporting for Black communities. She was previously managing editor at The Trace, where she was responsible for partnerships, special projects, and editorial operations. She’s also held the positions of associate editor and social media manager at The Root and senior editor at Essence Magazine. In 2015, she completed a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University, where she focused on issues surrounding diversity and the Black press. She was selected as a 2019-2020 Emerging Leader for the Institute of Nonprofit News, and was a 2021 fellow at the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Sara Sidner (moderator)

Sara Sidner is a national correspondent and anchor for CNN. She began her career with CNN in India, where she headed coverage of South Asia. During her first year there, she reported live during the deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai. In the Middle East, Sidner was part of the team that won a Peabody for CNN’s coverage of the Arab Spring. Recently she helped lead CNN’s coverage of the protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as the coronavirus outbreak. Sidner delivered the Arnolt Center’s symposium keynote speech in 2022 and is a member of the board.