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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 CBS News 60 Minutes producer, a best-selling author or co-author of six books and the founder of two Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organizations, the Center for Public Integrity and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Named as “one of the most notable investigative reporters in the U.S. since World War I” by the Encyclopedia of Journalism (2009), he has been a Ferris Professor at Princeton University, a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University, and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. A MacArthur Fellow and past winner of the PEN USA First Amendment Award, he is the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop and a tenured professor at American University in Washington. His most recent book is 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity (2014).


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
Tuesdays 2:30 to 5:30 pm, Wednesday 9 am to noon, by appointment.
Contact Info
(202) 885-1997 (Office)

Send email to Charles Lewis

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Lewis's Website
Investigative Reporting Workshop

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Fall 2017

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

2014, American University Award for "Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity and Other Professional Contributions"

2014, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Sigma Delta Chi "Research about Journalism" Award

2013, Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism (U. of Missouri School of 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 quarter century, through his work as the founder and first executive director of the award-winning Center for Public Integrity and its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists 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. He also initiated and oversaw The Koch Club project at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, which involved more than 20 students over more than two years.


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.


From 2005 to 2014, he researched the relationship between truth, political and corporate power and the national news media; 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. 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity was published in June 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, accessible at


Lewis also has been exploring new economic models to create and deliver investigative journalism. His research evolves around this central question: how to expand the public reach and impact of investigative research and reporting in and outside the United States, one of the two core missions of Investigative Reporting Workshop, which he conceived and leads. He has a longstanding interest in the subject: for example, in 1997, Lewis began the Center's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the first network of the world's premier investigative reporters (now 190 journalists in roughly 70 countries across six continents), collaborating to produce cross-border, award-winning, public service journalism. He is currently conducting research about the future and potential of such investigative collaboration, within and beyond 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


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, journalism ethics, whistleblowers in the media, U.S. war contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan

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
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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