Wendell Cochran

Wendell Cochran

Senior Editor, Retired
Phone: (202) 885-2075
cochran@american.edu

Wendell Cochran, recently retired, is the founding senior editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He joined the American University School of Communication in 1992. Cochran has spent more than 40 years practicing and teaching journalism. Along the way he has covered everything from local government to Congress to presidential campaigns. He has bylines from nearly 40 of the 50 states. He worked as a business reporter, special projects editor, and project director for leading news organizations including the Kansas City Star, Des Moines Register and Gannett News Service. He has also worked as a contributing editor to Top Producer, a leading agriculture magazine.

He spent most of his career as a business reporter and editor, specializing in topics such as agricultural policy, international trade, and banking and finance. His stories have won or shared four national reporting awards, including the Amos Tuck Award for Economic Understanding, the John Hancock Award for Business Reporting (twice) and the National Headliners Award. He is a former member of the board of directors of Investigative Reporters Editors Inc.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Inspiring international students

IRW Executive Editor Charles Lewis urged young journalists to get excited about the profession and to hold those in power accountable this month at a two-day, international conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.The Future News Worldwide conference was created by the British Council— the United Kingdom’s international organization for culture and education — and held earlier this month at the Scottish Parliament.

From the Pentagon Papers to Trump: How the government gained the upper hand against leakers

The Pentagon Papers helped shape legal and ethical standards for journalistic truth-telling on matters of top secret government affairs. Openness, in the eyes of the public and the courts, would usually prevail over government secrecy, shifting power from politicians back to citizens and news organizations. That balance of power is taking on a renewed significance today in the wake of Reality Winner’s alleged recent national security leak, prosecution of members of the press and anti-press and anti-leak rhetoric by the Trump administration.

Blogs

Most Recent Posts

TV viewership declines, diversity stalls in newsrooms

Revenue and audience trends for Hispanic- and black-oriented news outlets have mirrored closely the fluctuation of the industry overall, a recent Pew Research Center report found.


Survivors reflect on life after deadly bacterial infections

When FRONTLINE’s "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria" premiered in 2013, Addie Rerecich and David Ricci were still struggling with the consequences of devastating antibiotic-resistant infections. Four years later, FRONTLINE and the Workshop caught up with the two survivors to find out how they were doing as part of an updated broadcast of the film tonight, July 25, 2017, nationwide on PBS. Check local listings.

Sinclair exemplifies consolidation concerns in TV news

Nearly 15 years ago, the five largest television companies owned about 180 of the country’s local news channels. Now, after years of dizzying buying sprees, mergers and billions of dollars spent, those companies own more than twice that — a pattern of consolidation that worries many, both within the industry and outside of it. 

More Republicans think negatively about higher ed

For the first time since Pew began tracking it, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58 percent) now say colleges “have a negative effect on the country.” That’s compared to 72 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners who say colleges and universities have a positive impact. Whatever the cause, colleges and universities now share in a dubious distinction: as some of the most divisive national institutions. The only other institution that, according to Pew, divides Americans more? The national news media. 


What We're Reading: Inspiring investigations

Recent investigative and longform work that has inspired our IRW summer interns.

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.