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Sommer Brugal Becomes New IRW Fellow

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Sommer Brugal

Sommer Brugal, a graduate student in the Journalism and Public Affairs program at American University School of Communication (AU SOC), has been awarded the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) Fellowship. IRW is a nonprofit, professional newsroom that conducts domestic and international investigative journalism projects. IRW publishes in-depth stories about the government and corporate accountability, the environment, health, national security, and the economy. It also partners with The Washington Post and PBS FRONLINE for researching and reporting assignments.

The IRW fellowship is an opportunity for students to work outside of their core academic classes and apply what they are learning in class to everyday professional endeavors. Brugal found the fellowship by researching opportunities for the graduate programs on AU’s website. She applied for the fellowship because she knew it would be a great opportunity for her to work outside of her comfort zone and take on complex stories that she would not normally write.

One of the main reasons that Brugal was interested in the fellowship was because of the ability to work alongside established reporters and editors who could offer guidance, insight and on the job training. This opportunity will benefit her professionally and academically by pushing her to write stories she does not normally take on. IRW will help her create original and significant investigative reporting on subjects of national and international importance and allow her to analyze and experiment with new economic models for creating and delivering investigative reporting.

The collaborative environment in IRW allows students to ask questions, have discussions, and refine their writing and reporting skills. Brugal was a freelance writer in Austin and most of her work focused on lifestyle and entertainment. She also reported on local government at City Hall. The fellowship, along with her academic work, will give her the chance to confidently make the jump to investigative journalism and reporting.

Her interest in investigative journalism comes from the ability to watch a story develop and grow.

“Investigative work gives you the time to dive deeper into stories, to really learn about its depth or potential,” says Brugal.

It also allows her to foster relationships with the subjects she is working with and the responsibility to tell their stories in a meaningful way. The fellowship gives students the skills to write hard-hitting and important stories and improve their writing and investigative researching.

Learn more about the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs program at AU SOC.