Journalism major publishes Pulitzer Center-funded report on de-radicalization in London prisons

Paul LeBlanc ’18, who was awarded a Pulitzer Center Student Fellowship, published an April 30 article titled “In Belmarsh Prison: Radicalization or De-radicalization?”

While studying abroad during Winter Term is a popular option at Elon University, senior Paul LeBlanc’s international experience this past January certainly stands apart.

Paul LeBlanc ’18 (center), who was awarded a Pulitzer Center Student Fellowship, traveled to London in January to examine de-radicalization programs in English prisons. Following the School of Communications awards ceremony in April, LeBlanc gathered with Assistant Professor Alex Luchsinger (left) and Associate Professor Rich Landesberg.
​The journalism major and Pulitzer Center Student Fellow spent a week in England examining de-radicalization programs in English prisons. On April 30, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting published his 1,200-word investigation, titledIn Belmarsh Prison: Radicalization or De-radicalization?,” highlighting London’s highest security prison.

LeBlanc’s reporting delved into Belmarsh’s approach to de-radicalization, including the use of forced containment. His reporting found that the “prison has a radicalization problem, and there are no clear answers.”

A look at a teaser on the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s website promoting LeBlanc’s article.
​Elon is one of the Pulitzer Center’s more than 30 Campus Consortium partners, an educational initiative that brings Pulitzer Center staff and journalists to Elon’s campus twice a year. With Elon’s membership in the consortium, students – like LeBlanc – have the opportunity to work with the center on developing international reporting projects.

Past Elon students who have participated in the Pulitzer Center Student Fellowship initiative have investigated topics such as the Catholic Church’s future in Ireland and the internet’s impact on a rural Guatemalan town.

LeBlanc, former news director of “Elon Local News,” has an extensive reporting background. He has completed two internships with CNN, working at CNN World News Headquarters in 2016 and returning in 2017 at the Digital News Desk where he wrote breaking, long-form and investigative stories for

In a correspondence to Associate Dean Kenn Gaither, LeBlanc acknowledged the impact his international experience this winter had on him.

“I want to sincerely thank you for this incredible opportunity,” LeBlanc wrote. “I truly owe so much to the School of Communications and this will always be a highlight of my time in college.”

In April, LeBlanc was recognized with the Outstanding Senior Award for Journalism at the School of Communications’ end-of-year awards celebration.