Keynote Session: Medill Innocence Project

I’d have to say this session really blew me away. I’ve never heard of such an innovative and daring class that allows student journalists to do something truly meaningful with their chosen field of study.

Alec Klein, the director of the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University, spoke at the convention today with two students, Dan Tham and Katie Brennan, about the purpose of the class and their accomplishments. The project is an investigative journalism course that has students looking into murder convictions, and they’ve even exonerated several prisoners with the work they’ve done. The stories they shared about Donald Watkins and Jennifer Del Prete, two convicted prisoners the project focused on in their investigations, were heart wrenching and educational at the same time.

The session gave me an idea of what it’s like to commit yourself fully to something that many might consider to be too risky, and the devotion of Klein and his students really inspired me. It showed me that we as student journalists can make a huge impact on the world and change lives, even when it seems hopeless to try and do so.

– Kyra Gemberling


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