Phone: (202) 885-1997
A bestselling author and national investigative journalist for over 30 years, Charles Lewis is a tenured professor of journalism and since 2008 the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C. He is the founder of The Center for Public Integrity, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and several other nonprofit organizations, and the author in 2014 of 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity.
He left a successful career as an investigative producer for ABC News and the CBS News program 60 Minutes and began the Center from his home, growing it to a full-time staff of 40 people. Under his leadership, the nonpartisan Center published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, from 1989 through 2004, and these major reporting projects were honored more than 30 times by national journalism organizations. His fifth and last co-authored book with the Center staff, The Buying of the President 2004 (HarperCollins/Perennial) was a New York Times bestseller.
In 1996, the New Yorker called The Center for Public Integrity “the center for campaign scoops.” For example, that year Lewis and the Center issued 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.” In 2003, weeks before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Center posted secret draft “Patriot II” legislation, and in October the Center 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.
Since 1992, Lewis has traveled and spoken publicly in 27 countries on six continents. In late 1997, he began the Center’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the world’s first working network of premier reporters in nearly 70 countries producing content across borders. And that made www.publicintegrity.org the “first global website devoted to international exposés.” In 2016, the Consortium, working with 370 journalists on six continents, published the unprecedented "Panama Papers" project.
In 2005, Lewis co-founded Global Integrity, an independent, nonprofit organization utilizing journalists and social scientists to track governance and corruption trends around the world. And from 2005 through 2008, he served as founding president of the Fund for Independence in Journalism in Washington, an endowment and legal defense support organization for the Center for Public Integrity. During that time, he also was a consultant on access to information issues to the Carter Center in Atlanta, a Ferris Professor at Princeton University and a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University.
Lewis, once described as “a watchdog in the corridors of power” by the National Journal, was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1998. And in 2004, PEN USA, the respected literary organization, gave its First Amendment award to Lewis, “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 cited Lewis as “one of the 30 most notable investigative reporters in the U.S. since World War I.”
Stories written by Charles Lewis
- The future of journalism in three words: collaboration, collaboration, collaboration (April 19th, 2016)
- The Buying of the President (February 11th, 2016)
- Spiked: Fighting in-house censorship when media managers can’t handle the truth (January 21st, 2015)
- Plain speaking about TV news and its future (December 18th, 2014)
- If Truth Be Told: Part 3 (May 30th, 2014)
- If Truth Be Told: Part 2 (May 29th, 2014)
- If Truth Be Told: Part 1 (May 28th, 2014)
- The art, science and mystery of nonprofit news assessment (July 10th, 2013)
- Koch millions spread influence through nonprofits, colleges (July 1st, 2013)
- Murrey Marder: 'Utterly tenacious about the truth' (March 18th, 2013)
- Workshop, American, Washington Post jointly hire investigative reporter (March 4th, 2013)
- A second look: The new Journalism Ecosystem (August 31st, 2012)
- Reporting: Fundamental necessity to democracy (April 25th, 2012)
- Global investigative journalists convene in Kiev (October 20th, 2011)
- New books highlight nonprofit ecosystem (October 13th, 2011)
- Cross-pollination carries journalism across borders (November 23rd, 2010)
- New journalism ecosystem thrives (October 29th, 2010)
- More resources for new ecosystem (October 29th, 2010)
- iLab’s goal: Enlarging public space for investigative journalism (March 30th, 2010)