MinnPost has received a grant of $80,000 from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, to support a new investigative reporting partnership between MinnPost and the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
At the university, the program will be coordinated by Chris Ison, associate professor of journalism and a former Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune who teaches in-depth reporting.
At MinnPost, the project will be led by Jeff Severns Guntzel, a reporter who has just joined the MinnPost staff.
Jeff and Chris will help students to identify, research and write investigative projects, with the students doing much of the reporting. In addition, if work on the project or projects needs to be done after the semester ends, a number of students will work as interns at MinnPost to finish their reporting and writing.
The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, says its mission is “to invest in the future of journalism by building the ethics, skills and opportunities needed to advance principled, probing news and information.” It was established in 1982 by Edith Kinney Gaylord, a journalist whose father was editor and publisher of the Oklahoman and the Oklahoma City Times.
The foundation announced $2 million in grants to 22 journalism organizations around the nation.
Jeff Severns Guntzel’s job at MinnPost, which began this week, will include focusing on investigative and data-driven projects, and he will also devote a significant amount of his time to engaging readers for other reporting efforts, as idea generators, sources, and content contributors.
MinnPost readers may be familiar with Jeff’s work. He has been a contributor to the site in the past, writing mostly about the arts.
Before joining MinnPost, Jeff was a senior editor at the Utne Reader. Before his journalism career, Jeff devoted a number of years to humanitarian work in pre-war Iraq. Since then, he’s reported from the Middle East and elsewhere for the National Catholic Reporter. His foreign coverage included a trip to Iraq to cover the post-invasion scene two weeks after U.S. troops entered Baghdad. And he has reported on Iraqi refugees from Jordan and Palestinian issues from the West Bank.
Jeff has also covered political and cultural developments from Minneapolis as a staff writer for Village Voice Media and has appeared on a several national news programs, including the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”