Leonard Downie Jr.

Leonard Downie Jr.

Advisory Board

Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is vice president at large of The Washington Post, where he was executive editor from 1991 to 2008. During his 44 years in The Washington Post newsroom, he was also an investigative reporter, editor of the local and national news staffs, London correspondent, and, from 1984 to 1991, managing editor under then executive editor Ben Bradlee.

As deputy Metro editor from 1972 to 1974, Downie helped supervise the newspaper’s Watergate coverage. He oversaw the newspaper’s coverage of every national election from 1984 through 2008. During his 17 years as executive editor, The Washington Post news staff won 25 Pulitzer prizes.

Downie received bachelor’s, master’s and honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from The Ohio State University. He is the author of five books, including "The New Muckrakers," about investigative reporting; "The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril" (with Robert G. Kaiser), and "The Rules of the Game," a novel about Washington.

He is also the author of "The Obama Administration and the Press," published by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2013, and co-author, with Columbia University Professor Michael Schudson, of "The Reconstruction of American Journalism," published by The Journalism School of Columbia University in 2009.

Downie is a founder and current board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News and of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.

Recent News

What happens when a driver kills someone while fiddling with a cellphone? Often, not much

Although there are no national statistics on the results of prosecutions brought against distracted drivers who kill or severely injure someone, light punishment appears to be the norm. An informal review by FairWarning of prosecutions of distracted drivers — cases gleaned from news reports over the last five years that involved more than 100 deaths overall — found that few were sentenced to serve for more than a month or two, or given fines of more than $1,000.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Future of DC transparency

The future of transparency in D.C. government is murky, open records advocates say.

Since its creation in 2011, the Office of Open Government has been tasked with keeping more than 90 District agencies in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. But the board that oversees the office will not reappoint its inaugural director, Traci L. Hughes, making transparency advocates worried about the office’s future.  

The power of reporters, working together

Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis writes about global teamwork in investigative reporting in his chapter for a new book published by the Reuters Institute at the University of Oxford. 

Blogs

Most Recent Posts

Apprehensions at U.S.-Mexico border down from 2017

The number of people apprehended or denied entry into the U.S. dropped from 2017.

Donations to nonprofit newsrooms continue to grow after 'Trump bump'

Despite his persistent claims of fake news and shoddy reporting, President Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the media has actually provided a much-needed financial boost for many nonprofit,  investigative journalism organizations across the country.

Asbestos, highway safety and child strangulation prevention

Check out our three reprints from FairWarning.

Stories include preventions in child strangulation, Johnson & Johnsons carcinogen worries and highway safety.

 

How Trump is shaping immigration policy

“It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century," said President Donald Trump at his first State of the Union. 

What Trump didn’t talk about were the ups and downs of immigration under his administration. The Investigative Reporting Workshop built a timeline of immigration during Trump’s first year, and we’ll continue to update it.

American trust in the media is low, but majority believes it is necessary

More than 80 percent of U.S. adults believe the news media are critical or very important to our democracy, according to a recent survey by Gallup and the Knight Foundation.

Partners

Workshop Partners

We publish online and in print, often teaming up with other news organizations. We're working now on a new program with FRONTLINE producers, to air later in the year, and on the "Years of Living Dangerously," a series on climate change that has begun airing on Showtime. A story last year on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention centers was co-published with The New York Times. Our updates to our long-running BankTracker project, in which you can view the financial health of every bank and credit union in the country, have been published with msnbc.com, now nbcnews.com, and we co-published stories in our What Went Wrong series on the economy with The Philadelphia Inquirer and New America Media. Our graduate students are working as researchers with Washington Post reporters, and our new senior editor is a member of the Post's investigative team. Learn more on our partners page.

Projects

Investigating Power update

Investigating Power update

Profiles of notable journalists and their stories of key moments in U.S. history in the last 50 years can be found on the Investigating Power site. See Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis' latest video interviews as well as historic footage and timelines. You can also read more about the project and why we documented these groundbreaking examples of original, investigative journalism that helped shape or change public perceptions on key issues of our time, from civil rights to Iraq, here.