An indepth look at the New York City Police Department’s history of shooting innocent bystanders by students from the Class of 2013 was a finalist for this year’s Investigative Reporters & Editors award for best student work.
The story, “In the Line of Fire: Tough justice for bystanders hit by NYPD bullets,” was written by ’13 alum Erin Horan with additional reporting from classmates Martin Burch, Christine Streich, and Ajai Raj. Horan conceived the project in Prof. Andy Lehren’s and Brian Hamman’s Investigative Reporting class and got it published on 219 Magazine, the J-School’s forum for longform journalism edited by Prof. Steve Strasser.
The report, based on more than two decades of police records, lawsuits, news accounts, and original interviews, shows that every year for the past 10 years at least one innocent bystander has been shot by the NYPD. It also reveals vigorous efforts by the city to avoid compensating victims for their suffering.
“Erin really did a fantastic job on this story,” Lehren said. “She conceived it, did so much of the data work in class, made FOIA requests, dug through documents, and did great interviews. She beat other publications on how the city fights back against making any payments.”