Wednesday, March 3, 2010

There's Still Hope for Investigative Journalism

Meet Lee Zurik. He graduated from SU in 1996 with a degree in broadcast journalism. He says he always wanted to become a sports reporter, so he started looking for a job.

He found his first one in Alabama and eventually made the return to his home state of Louisiana, where he covered the Saints and LSU for WWL-Channel 4 in New Orleans.

Zurik eventually heeded the advice of his old professor,
Don Torrance, who told him to make the switch from the sports desk to the news department. Zurik says the switch was difficult, but he taught himself the ropes of investigative journalism by taking a crash course in news reporting.

It's safe to say the career change worked out well for Zurik, who won the
prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, which honors excellence in broadcast journalism.

His award-winning investigation started out as a story about contractors who were scamming the city after Hurricane Katrina. Zurik says his reporting led him to investigate the New Orleans Affordable Housing Program.

"Serious news reporting impacts everyone's lives," Zurik says. "It means something."

Zurik visited SU on Wednesday with another Newhouse graduate and duPont award winner, Kristin Carlson. They showed clips from their award-winning stories and took questions from students about the future of broadcast journalism.

"It's challenging times for broadcast news," Zurik says. "We're in an evolving and changing industry. Financially, the model is changing. But I don't think that's going to stop many outlets from doing quality journalism."

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