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Charles Lewis

Professor
School of Communication

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop
    Professor, American University School of Communication
  • Charles Lewis is a national investigative journalist; a former ABC News and 60 Minutes producer, best-selling author and founder of several nonprofit organizations, including the Investigative Reporting Workshop and before that the Center for Public Integrity and its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Lewis began the Center from his home, and grew it to a full-time staff of 40 people. Under his leadership, the Center published about 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, from 1989 through 2004, and won more than 30 national journalism honors. Named as “one of the 30 most notable investigative reporters in the U.S. since World War I” by the Encyclopedia of Journalism (Sage Publications; 2009), Lewis recently has helped to create the Investigative News Network, which now consists of more than 90 nonprofit news publishers. He has been a Ferris Professor at Princeton University and a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University. He is the author of 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity (2014).
  • Degrees

    BA Political Science, University of Delaware; MA Johns Hopkins University (School of Advanced International Studies)
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  • SOC - School of Communication
  • McKinley - 112
  • Mondays 2:30-5:30 pm; Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. -12:30 pm and by appointment
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  • (202) 885-1997 (Office)
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  • FOR THE MEDIA

  • To request an interview for a
    news story, call AU Communications
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Partnerships & Affiliations

Teaching

  • Fall 2014

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Professional Presentations

As executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, Lewis conducted 35 news conferences at the National Press Club in Washington between 1990 and 2004. He has given scores of lectures and presentations on ethics, political influence, corruption or investigative reporting throughout the U.S. and in 25 countries on six continents. And he has guest lectured at more than two dozen major colleges and universities around the world.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

2013, Missouri Hounor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism

2009, Honorary Degree, University of Delaware

2004, PEN USA First Amendment Award

1998, MacArthur Fellowship (awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Center for Public Integrity reports (initiated, final edited and approved by the executive director) were honored more than 30 times by national journalism organizations, such as Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and others. In 2004, “Windfalls of War: U.S. contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan” won the George Polk award.

Media Appearances

He has been interviewed hundreds of times by the major print and electronic news media about the influence of money on politics, abuses of power and other ethics-related issues at the state, national and international level. He has done numerous live and taped interviews for such programs as NBC’s The Today Show and Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline; CBS News 60 Minutes, Evening News and Morning News, CNN, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and Booknotes; PBS Frontline, NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, On the Media; The Daily Show, etc. Lewis has also been interviewed for various feature film documentaries, including Orwell Rolls in His Grave and Why We Fight. 

 

 

Research Interests

The past two decades, through his work at the Center for Public Integrity and since then, Lewis has been systematically investigating the origins and abuses of power in relation to the public policy decision-making processes in the United States and around the world. For example, in 1996, 2000 and 2004, he and his colleagues at the Center authored the popular and unprecedented The Buying of the President books, identifying the financial interests and unadvertised past behind the glossy candidate careers - always released for citizens before any votes were cast. 

From 1999 through 2004, Lewis and his colleagues created a new way of monitoring and reporting on corruption, government accountability and openness around the world, culminating in a 750,000-word report prepared by 200 social scientists and journalists in 25 countries on six continents. This project spawned a new, nonprofit organization, Global Integrity, which Lewis co-founded.

Since 2005, he has been preparing his sixth book about the relationship between truth, political and corporate power and the national news media. He has been researching the origins and trajectory of public relations and propaganda, deception by government and companies, and the truth-telling capacity of journalists and their news organizations. This book will be published in May 2014. As part of this work, since 2007, he has conducted audio and video recorded interviews with some of the most respected U.S. reporters and editors whose independent reporting has had a significant impact on our nation's history since 1950. Investigating Power was released at the National Press Club in 2012 and is an ongoing work-in-progress.

Lewis also has been exploring new economic models to create and deliver investigative journalism, in and outside the United States, which is one of the two core missions of Investigative Reporting Workshop, which he initiated and leads. He is interested in attempting to expand the public space and economic potential for investigative reporting around the world. He has a longstanding interest in the subject: in 1997, Lewis began the Center's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the first network of 100 of the world's premier investigative reporters in 50 countries (Now 175 journalists in 60+ countries), collaborating to produce across-border, award-winning, public service journalism.

Executive Experience

  • Founding Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop, 2008-Present
  • Founding President, The Fund for Independence in Journalism, 2003-2008
  • Founding Executive Director, The Center for Public Integrity, 1989-2004 (Chair of the Board, 1989-2000

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Investigative Reporting Workshop, supported by several foundations, 2008-
  • The End of Truth: Power, the News Media and the Public’s Right to Know (HarperCollins: forthcoming, 2010).
  • The Fund for Independence in Journalism, 2005-2008
  • The Center for Public Integrity, 1989-2004

Residencies

Fellow, Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University

 

 

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Investigative journalism, future of journalism, political corruption, ethics

Additional Information: Charles (Chuck) Lewis
is an investigative journalist and bestselling author who is the founder of the Center for Public Integrity and several other nonprofit organizations. Lewis left a successful career as a producer for the CBS News program 60 Minutes and began the Center, which, under his leadership, published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, from 1989 through 2004. His most recent book is the bestseller The Buying of the President 2004 (HarperCollins). Lewis was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998 and received the PEN USA First Amendment Award in 2004. Lewis was a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 2005 and a consultant regarding access to information issues for the Carter Center in Atlanta. In early 2006, he was a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Lewis was the founding president of the Fund for Independence in Journalism and is writing his sixth book, to be published by PublicAffairs. He has written articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Columbia Journalism Review, and many other publications.
 

Media Relations
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