Charles Lewis

Charles Lewis

Executive Editor
Phone: (202) 885-1997
charlesl@american.edu

Charles Lewis is a professor of journalism at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C., and the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop. 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 former ABC News and CBS News 60 Minutes producer, he founded two Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit news organizations, the award-winning, nonprofit Center for Public Integrity (1989) and its International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (1997), the first global network of premier investigative reporters to develop and publish online multimedia exposés across borders. The ICIJ published the Panama Papers in April 2016, its 26th cross border investigation. It is the largest collaboration in the history of journalism, involving a leaked cache of 11.5 million financial records, analyzed and reported by more than 370 journalists in 76 countries and published in over 100 newspapers around the world.

Under his leadership, the nonpartisan Center published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, from 1989 through 2004 and its major reporting projects were honored more than 30 times by national journalism organizations. In 1996, the New Yorker called the Center for Public Integrity “the center for campaign scoops.” For example, that year the Center published a report, "Fat Cat Hotel," which first revealed that the Clinton administration had been rewarding major donors with White House overnight stays in the “Lincoln Bedroom" (and others). In 2003, weeks before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Center published secret, controversial draft Justice Department “Patriot II Act” legislation, and in October the Center/ICIJ posted all of the known U.S. war contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Windfalls of War" first identified that Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root had received the most money from those contracts, and it won the first George Polk Award for Internet Reporting.

He is the author of "935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity" (2014), and co-author of five Center books: "The Buying of the President" (1996), "The Buying of the Congress" (1998), "The Buying of the President" (2000), "The Cheating of America" (2001), and "The Buying of the President" 2004, a New York Times bestseller. 

Lewis was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1998, and in 2004, he was given the PEN USA First Amendment award “for expanding the reach of investigative journalism, for his courage in going after a story regardless of whose toes he steps on, and for boldly exercising his freedom of speech and freedom of the press.” In 2009, the Encyclopedia of Journalism called him “one of the 30 most notable investigative reporters in the U.S. since World War I.” In 2014, the Wall Street Journal observed, “With the founding of the Center for Public Integrity in the 1980s, Charles Lewis probably did more than anyone else to launch institutional nonprofit journalism in America.” 

 

Stories written by Charles Lewis

Recent News

Amid rush to deploy driverless cars, federal regulators urged to keep hands on the wheel

The era of driverless vehicles appears to be rapidly approaching, raising a bevy of urgent questions about how to prevent the emergence of new hazards on the nation’s roads.

So how much preparation have federal transportation authorities carried out to meet the challenge of the advent of self-driving cars and trucks? Not nearly enough, according to a new 44-page report by the Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog agency.

After a long hold out, tobacco companies to issue mea culpas

In a matter of days, the American tobacco industry will begin publicly admitting some ugly truths about its dark history and the health effects of smoking.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

How drones are changing disaster coverage

Drones, small unmanned aircraft, have changed how some news organizations cover disasters. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria represent a “defining moment for the use of unmanned aerial systems in news gathering,” Greg Agvent, the senior director of National News Technology and CNN AIR, said. 


Offenses in youth centers send teens to adult prisons

A ProPublica reporter wondered why a Southwest Illinois juvenile facility was sending teenage inmates to adult prisons. Here's the story behind the story.


Blogs

Most Recent Posts

Explore The Workshop's 2017 holiday gift guide

This year's holiday gift-giving guide will impress those journalists in your life who love swag (and irony).

Science march film will turn on scientists turned political candidates, leaders

A new documentary will tell stories about scientists who want to counter the Trump administration’s “war on science." Director Larry Kirkman, who teaches at the AU School of Communication, shares his vision for the film, along with his "work-in-progress" video featuring footage from the March for Science on April 22.

A shortlist of fall media

The autumn news cycle boiled over like some Northwestern river amid a peak salmon run. Here are exceptional examples of storytelling I’ve spent time with in the last few weeks. They pinball and rebound between the most salient topics in media of the moment: extreme wealth, the White House and race.

FRONTLINE, IRW launch new fellowship

The PBS series FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) at American University’s School of Communication announce a new journalism fellowship.

Barriers still keep disabled voters from polls

Nearly 28 years since the passing of the American’s with Disabilities Act, some polling places and voting systems still are not accessible.

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.