Morehouse partners with investigative reporting program co-founded by Nikole Hannah-Jones

By Ron Thomas


It was the perfect way to start Black History Month for Morehouse journalism students. Thursday morning, Morehouse College announced its new partnership with the Ida B. Wells Society co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. IBWS is devoted to developing more black investigative reporters who work in the spirit of Ida B. Wells, whose courageous investigations focused on lynchings in the South.


Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer for her Commentary in the 2019 New York Times Magazine titled “The 1619 Project.” That edition contained writings in many styles – opinion pieces, historical articles, poetry, essays, etc. – about the connections between slavery and today’s American society. It has been expanded into a book and curriculums for school children. Because Morehouse historically has been steeped in social justice causes, Hannah-Jones has an honorary degree from Morehouse and has been a friend of our program since 2015, and our Professor Nicole Carr is an IBWS trainer, the partnership is a natural fit for everyone involved.


The hub of Hannah-Jones’ work as an educator will remain at Howard University, but she wants to spread some of her projects to other HBCUs. She won’t be teaching here, but Hannah-Jones and her IBWS colleagues agreed to hold at least one major event here each year. The first will be her introduction to the Morehouse community on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 16, along with IBWS co-founder Ron Nixon.


The bulk of IBWS’ work involves holding investigative reporting workshops at black colleges (as they did here in 2019), securing investigative reporting internships (one of our students, Tyreye Morris, interned for USA Today in 2020), and when professional journalists visit Morehouse to sharpen their investigative skills, you will be exposed to them in different ways.


This partnership is the product of talks and negotiations since August 2021 between three IBWS co-founders (Hannah-Jones of the New York Times, Ron Nixon of Associated Press, and ProPublica’s Topher Sanders) and Morehouse’s Provost Kendrick Brown, CFO Undria Stalling, Humanities Division Dean Regine Jackson and me. We all consider IBWS a major, high-profile addition to Morehouse’s journalism opportunities.


I want to thank all current and past professors and staff members who helped make our journalism program impressive enough to attract Nikole Hannah-Jones and IBWS to Morehouse. Please take our investigative reporting courses in the Social Justice track even if you aren’t majoring in it. Next Fall, Professor Carr will teach Social Justice Journalism and History of the Black Press. And now, you have been given the rare opportunity to be affiliated with one of the most committed and creative black journalists ever in Nikole Hannah-Jones.