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Photograph of John Sullivan

John Sullivan Journalist in Residence Journalism


John Sullivan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Investigative Reporter, who serves as The Investigative Reporter-in-Residence at American University's School of Communication, an associate investigative editor at The Washington Post and a Senior Editor at The Investigative Reporting Workshop. Before joining American in 2013, Sullivan was a faculty member at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing, and the assistant director of Medill Watchdog, an investigative center at Medill. Previously Sullivan worked for nearly a decade at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where his reporting earned numerous national awards including the Pulitzer Prize. At the Inquirer he covered the war in Iraq, state government, city hall, science and health and was a member of the paper’s investigative team.

Sullivan’s stories have forced officials to answer for systemic failings and to undertake an overhaul of the city’s child welfare system (winner of a Casey Medal in 2007); to restructure the criminal courts after it was shown that people charged with violent crimes escaped conviction on all charges in almost two-thirds of cases (winner of several national awards and finalist for the Selden Ring, 2010) and to terminate a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that had allowed corporate polluters to burnish their green image (a finalist for a Pulitzer in 2009). Most recently Sullivan led a team of five reporters who examined violence in the Philadelphia schools. The series won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2012, a Casey Medal and the IRE Award.

Sullivan has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, where he worked for the National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting. He also spent five years at The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC.

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • COMM-462 Journalism Capstone

  • COMM-700 Investigative Journalism Pract