Carnegie Seminar

Falling Behind

Carnegie Seminar 

Spring 2012


With the presidential election as a backdrop, the Carnegie Seminar class joined forces with the Baltimore Urban Affairs class to investigate the impact of the economic downturn on working poor and lower middle class families for a multimedia journalism project. The Carnegie Seminar was directed by Deborah Nelson, senior lecturer and Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist. She co-taught with Abell Prof. Sandy Banisky, former deputy managing editor of The Baltimore Sun, who teaches the urban affairs course. The students' stories appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Patch, community papers throughout the state and was cited in The Washington Post. To see the multimedia project, click here: "Falling Behind."

The Carnegie Seminar will be renamed Investigative Reporting and offered next in Spring 2013. It will  be a 3-credit course offered to graduate students, and to senior undergraduates as an advanced reporting and capstone course. 

Contact Prof. Nelson with questions:

Image courtesy of K. Praslowicz

SPRING 2011. How Safe is Your Food? The Carnegie Seminar tackled the science, health, politics and business of food safety in the wake of mass outbreaks of foodborne illness and Congressional action to improve federal oversight. Students discussed the issues in class with an outstanding line-up of guest speakers drawn from experts, advocates, policymakers and journalists from the nation's capital and across the country. We conducted televised, joint sessions with similar classes at Arizona State University and the University of Nebraska. Students from those classes and several other schools participated as summer fellows in a national investigative reporting project on food safety as part of the Carnegie-Knight News21 program.  Fellows' stories have appeared in The Washington Post and at The Center for Public Integrity and won two national Mark of Excellence awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Past topics:

FALL 2010. The human face of immigration policy: Journalism and anthropology majors studied immigration reporting, anthropological research and video storytelling. They conducted fieldwork and produced multimedia team projects showing how immigration policy plays out in the lives of foreign-born residents. SPRING 2010. Immigrant communities: Students took an in-depth look at local enclaves from the perspectives of four academic disciplines. They collaborated on an oral history performance, researched the potential impact of a new county land use policy on the immigrant community in Langley Park, and produced a multimedia report on the issue. FALL 2009. The Economy: The economic crisis brought about profound changes that will play out on every local, national and international beat for years to come. An economic historian, a social economist and an entrepreneur provide insight into how we got here and where we may be headed. SPRING 2009. The New Voters: Latinos and other emerging voting groups participated in the fall election in historic numbers. Students worked with experts in polling, census geographic analysis and ethnography to learn how to analyze political attitudes and engagement. FALL 2008. National Politics: Students took a virtual ride on the campaign bus with a top polling expert, a former politician and a congressional aide-turned-scholar. SPRING 2008. War and peace: Experts on the U.S. military and the Middle East led a provocative semester-long discussion about the culture of war and geographic conflict. FALL 2007. Global Threats: Terrorism, nuclear proliferation and climate change – The University’s top experts lead discussions on three of the biggest stories journalists will cover in their generation. SPRING 2007: Urban issues: The seminar featured a top columnist and scholar on African-American politics, an activist and scholar on a local immigrant community, and a leading expert on crime. FALL 2006: Students explored race, gender and child development with a historian, demographer and education scholar.


Latest projects, stories & links:

Falling Behind

Baltimore Sun: "Funds cut as number of needy Marylanders hits new high"

Baltimore Sun: "Median wages in Md. fail to keep up with cost of basic needs, report says"

How Safe is Your Food?

Washington Post: Salmonella stays with chickens from birth to kitchen

Washington Post: A Look Inside a Poultry Farm

Washington Post: DC farmers markets highlight an array of food safety issues

Center for Public Integrity: Is kosher meat safer?

Center for Public Integrity: Salmonella lurks from farm to fork

The Human Face of Immigration

College Grad Exposes Undocumented Status Hoping to Make DREAM Act Into Reality

Cuban Immigrant Considers Herself Lucky Despite Rocky Arrival in U.S.

Jose and Mirna Castillo

Los 30: Thirty Years of Salvadoran/Latino Immigration to Washington D.C. -- an oral history by Quique Aviles, based on research by students in the Spring 2010 Carnegie Seminar, Latina/o Studies 202 and Transnational Latina/o Literatures 408b, and organized by Carnegie guest lecturer Ana Patricia Rodriguez from the College of Arts and Humanities. The performance was broadcast live to gatherings in El Salvador and Los Angeles.

Transit Center Tradeoff

Langley Park: The Crossroads at a Crossroad

Transit Center May Change Complexion of Langley Park

Proposed Langley Transit Center has Tradeoff

Filling the Gap: Community Finance Institutions

Maryland Community Finance Institutions Help Communities Battered by the Recession

Maryland's Community Finance Institutions Open Doors for Affordable Housing

Filling the Gap on WTOP-News

Agencies Battered by Recession in Salisbury-Easton Get Financial Help

How Takoma Park Stays Takoma Park  

East Baltimore Development Inc

After a Decade, Plans are Falling Short

East Baltimore Biotech Park Remains in Limbo After 10 Years


Sampler of past stories

Killing by the Numbers,

Poplar Springs, WJLA-TV

Palestinian Refugees, University of Maryland