The journalism and political science double major will participate in a prestigious 10-week investigative reporting assignment at Arizona State University in summer 2015.
Michael Bodley ’16 has been selected to represent Elon University in the 2015 Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative, one the most prestigious student journalism programs in the United States. Bodley, who will be the editor-in-chief of The Pendulum starting next month, was one of 20 students nationwide chosen to attend the nationally acclaimed summer program, created by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
As part of the paid summer fellowship, Bodley will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, for a 10-week investigative reporting assignment at the digital media complex of the Cronkite School at Arizona State University.
News21 brings journalism students from around the nation together to produce in-depth multimedia projects. Students will begin their work in a seminar this spring, when they’ll comprehensively study the topic on which they’ll report. This year’s project, which will be led by former Washington Post Executive Editor Len Downie, highlights the fast-moving developments in recreational and medicinal marijuana use around the country.
Past News21 investigations have focused on food safety, transportation safety and voting rights. Elon journalism major Kate Murphy ’15 participated in the 2014 project, which examined U.S. gun rights and legislation.
“I’m looking forward to spending the summer working as an investigative reporter,” Bodley said. “It’s incredible to have this kind of opportunity at this age and sit down and go in depth on a topic like marijuana use for an entire summer. It’s an expansive topic, and I think it follows nicely upon the heels of the topics they have done in the past. I look forward to the opportunity to work with other people of similar interests and abilities and conduct this type of project.”
The Baltimore, Maryland, native is also eager to investigate the city of Phoenix, having never lived outside of Maryland or Elon.
Elon students have been eligible to participate in the News21 program since 2012, and four School of Communications students have been selected. In addition to Bodley and Murphy, past Elon participants include Caitlin O’Donnell ’13 and Kassondra Cloos ’13.
Prior to his selection, Bodley spoke at length with Murphy about her experiences in Arizona, and he credits her insight for preparing him for the application process. “Kate was incredibly helpful guiding me through the selection process in terms of what they were looking for in a cover letter, the kind of virtues and abilities they seek and, ultimately, how to be successful while applying,” he said.
Bodley, who completed a business reporting internship with The Baltimore Sun this past summer, expects the News21 program to further sharpen his journalist skills, especially in terms of investigative reporting. “It is essential to have that type of skill no matter what form of journalism you want to go into,” he said.
News21 launched in 2005 with five universities: the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Harvard University, Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. Three years later, seven other schools were added, and in 2012, the initiative was opened to all journalism programs. In addition to Elon, this year’s participants hail from Arizona State University, Florida International University, George Washington University, Hofstra University, Oklahoma State University, University of British Columbia, University of Florida, University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Missouri, University of Nevada-Reno, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of Tennessee and University of Texas at Austin.