Topher Sanders advises graduate journalism students at the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism opening

The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism officially launched on Sept. 25 at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, featuring a panel of notable journalism professionals, including Topher Sanders, co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Journalism. 

Sanders discussed the importance of investigative journalism in today’s society and how to utilize resources to improve reporting as well as the mission of the Wells Society which was created to shape future journalists and reporters of color. 

He discussed in front of Merrill students and staff how important collaboration is in the newsroom and how being in smaller markets gives reporters an advantage. Journalists will have closer access to items within their specific expertise and when they combine that with large platforms, they can do more with their story. He believes telling the story in the best way possible is always the goal and that getting the story right should take precedence overall.

“At the end of the day, it's about journalism,” Sanders said.

He also advised that emerging journalists from marginalized groups should strive for excellence in everything they do in their careers.

“I couldn’t just be good,” he said, reflecting on his desire to be taken seriously as a journalist. “I had to be damn near perfect.”

The panel ended with a short reception where the Dean of the Philip Merrill expressed her gratitude for the funding of the center.

The Howard Center will train journalism graduate students, through hands-on investigative reporting, how to dig through data, how to ask those in power the right questions and how to tell stories in refreshing ways. They will also learn the ethics and history of the field. The Scripps Howard Foundation granted Maryland $3 million over three years to establish the Center after also granting the University of Arizona $3 million to develop a Howard Center, which opened this year as well.