The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Parent institution
Northwestern University
DeanCharles Whitaker
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusEvanston / Chicago (news service)

The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications /məˈdɪl/[2] is a constituent school of Northwestern University that offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. It frequently ranks as the top school of journalism in the United States.[3][4][5] Medill alumni include 40 Pulitzer Prize laureates,[6] numerous national correspondents for major networks, many well-known reporters, columnists and media executives.

Northwestern is one of the few schools embracing a technological approach towards journalism.[7] Medill received a Knight Foundation grant to establish the Knight News Innovation Laboratory in 2011. The Knight Lab is a joint initiative of Medill and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern, one of the first to combine journalism and computer science.[8]


The Medill School was founded in 1921, and named after Joseph Medill (1823–1899), owner and editor of the Chicago Tribune, which was then run by his grandsons Robert R. McCormick and Joseph Medill Patterson.[9][10]

Medill, Fisk Hall at Northwestern
Medill, Fisk Hall at Northwestern

The journalism program offers Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. The undergraduate curriculum requires a broad liberal arts education as well as the study and practice of journalism. The one-year master's curriculum is an intensive hands-on with students specializing in either: Health, Environment and Science; Magazine; Media Innovation and Content Strategy; Politics, Policy and Foreign Affairs; Social Justice and Investigative Reporting; Sports Media; or Video and Broadcast.[11]

The Integrated Marketing Communications program offers a Master of Science degree and Undergraduate Certificate. The graduate level program has full-time, part-time and online options. Full-time students can pursue a specialization, choosing from brand strategy, content marketing, digital and interactive marketing, marketing analytics, strategic communications and media management.[1]

Medill undergraduates participate in a journalism residency for one quarter in their junior or senior year, during which they intern in a professional newsroom or media organization. Media outlets across the United States — and in some cases, overseas — have participated in this program.

Medill is headquartered on the southern end of Northwestern's campus in Evanston, Illinois, but it also opened a program in 2008, at the branch campus Northwestern University in Qatar. Northwestern’s also has a San Francisco campus, located at 44 Montgomery St., right in the city’s Financial District. It opened in fall 2016 and is a partnership between both Medill and Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. For many years the school's main location was in Fisk Hall. In fall 2002, the school opened the McCormick Foundation Center (formerly the McCormick Tribune Center), which features a professional-grade TV studio and multimedia classrooms for Medill's growing emphasis on new forms of media. It was generally known as the Medill School of Journalism. To reflect the broader focus the faculty approved the expanded name "Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications" in late 2010, and the new name was approved by the university board of trustees in March 2011.[12]

Medill Knight Lab

Alberto Ibargüen, president of the Knight Foundation, with Tim Berners-Lee, pioneer of the World Wide Web
Alberto Ibargüen, president of the Knight Foundation, with Tim Berners-Lee, pioneer of the World Wide Web

Medill is known for graduates who "mix high-tech savvy with hard-nosed reporting skills".[7] The Knight Lab is a joint initiative of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced in 2011. It combines the disciplines of journalism and computer science together to establish a "media innovation lab", one of the few of its kind in the country.[13][14] According to Northwestern's press release:

"Among the Knight Lab's goals is to maximize use of open-source software already developed through the Knight News Challenge, a $25 million worldwide media innovation contest now in its fifth year, as well as from other grantees from Knight Foundation's $100 million media innovation initiative...Those include projects such as Open Block, an aggregator of public information; Document Cloud, for managing and displaying original documents; Public Insight Journalism, which helps newsrooms tap the wisdom of the community to find better news sources; and Spot.Us, a new way of "crowd-funding" journalism."[14]

Medill Justice Project

For the Law School project, see Northwestern University School of Law § Center on Wrongful Convictions.

The Medill Justice Project, originally known as the Medill Innocence Project, began in 1999, as an effort by Medill faculty and students to reinvestigate murder convictions in Illinois and determine if people were wrongly convicted. This effort has helped to free 11 innocent men, including Anthony Porter[15][16] and the Ford Heights Four.[17] Medill Justice Project work is credited with prompting Illinois Governor George Ryan to suspend the death penalty and commute all death sentences in 2003.[18]

In 1999, the project successfully worked to free Anthony Porter, who had been convicted of killing two people. Alstory Simon made a video confession to the crimes, encouraged by the Medill Justice Project and a private investigator. Simon pleaded guilty and was eventually sentenced to 37 years. However, in 2014, authorities exonerated Simon and freed him from prison. Anita Alvarez, of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, criticized David Protess, the Innocence Project founder and director, and long-time Medill journalism professor. Prosecutors said Protess, private investigator Paul Ciolino, and Medill students manipulated Simon into making the confession. The Innocence Project allegedly told Simon he could be executed, said he could earn money from book deals if he cooperated, and falsely claimed there was a witness who implicated Simon.[19] The Medill Innocence Project has been accused of framing Alstory Simon for the murders.[20][21] In 2015, Simon sued Northwestern for $40 million; the case was settled in 2018 for an undisclosed amount.[22]

From 2009 to 2011, the project was involved in a dispute with the Cook County, Illinois state's attorney over the handling of the Anthony McKinney case.[23] The university claimed reporter's privilege in resisting a subpoena for Justice Project records of the case, while the state claimed the project had been acting as investigators in behalf of McKinney's counsel. Medill faculty member David Protess was suspended during this dispute. In 2011, Protess left to found the Chicago Innocence Project[24] and blog for the Huffington Post[25] while the school gave up the records.[26][27][28]

In February 2018, Medill Justice Project Director Alec Klein was accused of bullying and sexual harassment by multiple former students and employees.[29] Klein "categorically" denied the allegations and took a leave of absence during the university's investigation. Klein resigned from his position and left the university in August.[30]

Spiegel Research Center

The Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center is the first research center at Medill. Founded in 2011, it is funded by a gift from the late Ted Spiegel, Medill professor emeritus and member of the family who founded the Spiegel (catalog), and his wife Audrey. The center focuses on evidence-based, data driven analysis to prove the connection between customer engagement and purchase behavior.[31]

Medill News Service

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Medill operates a working newsroom in downtown Chicago as part of its graduate journalism program. Graduate students have been providing news coverage to client newspapers since 1995. Each quarter, student reporters are assigned to cover stories about city and county government, the events in state and federal courts, business and economic development, health and science issues and the arts and sports.[32]

Washington, DC

Every Medill News Service journalist also has the opportunity to spend a quarter in a Washington, DC, covering breaking news as well as in-depth, enterprise stories on politics, civil rights, energy, technology or education. Medill journalists attend congressional proceedings, press conferences, conventions and congressional hearings and connect those stories to the communities they cover—not an insider audience.[33]

The Medill News Service serves newspapers, Web sites, television stations and radio stations, which all pay a quarterly fee to help cover production and communications costs.[34] Print correspondents transmit stories electronically every day. Television stories are sent by network feed or satellite, or shipped overnight, as each station requires.

San Francisco campus

For Medill IMC students or Master's Journalism students of the Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIE) specialization,[35] a new campus in downtown San Francisco opened in September 2016 to facilitate special curricula during one quarter of their program.

For Medill MIE students, this campus is the epicenter of their studies related to human-centered design, the business of startups, and learning to code and work within a tech-industry company. While taking courses related to creating startups, students also work 2 days a week with a practicum company (internship).[36]

"Quotegate" controversy

Dean John Lavine

In a February 11, 2008 column written for the Daily Northwestern, Medill senior David Spett questioned the use of anonymous sources by Dean John Lavine in a letter Lavine wrote for Medill's alumni magazine. Lavine attributed a quote praising a Medill marketing class to "a Medill junior" in the class. Spett reportedly called all 29 students enrolled in the class, including all five Medill juniors, and according to Spett, all denied saying the quote.[37] Lavine denied fabricating the quote in a February 20 email to students, but expressed regret for what he called "poor judgment" in not keeping his notes.

The so-called "Quotegate" controversy was the focus of stories, columns and editorials in local and national media, including the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post and Editor & Publisher.[38]


Medill alumni have won:

Pulitzer Prize, U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition.
Pulitzer Prize, U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition.

Notable alumni

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (August 2018)

The school recognizes alumni "whose distinctive careers have had positive impacts on their fields" with its Hall of Achievement award,[48] as well as alumni who have been awarded a Pulitzer Prize.[49]

Hank Klibanoff, received the Pulitzer prize for history in 2007 for the book The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation.
George R. R. Martin, American author of epic fantasy novels
George R. R. Martin, American author of epic fantasy novels
Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
Michael Isikoff, investigative journalist for the United States-based magazine Newsweek
Michael Isikoff, investigative journalist for the United States-based magazine Newsweek
Roxana Saberi, author of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
Roxana Saberi, author of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran
Jeff Jarvis, blogger author of What Would Google Do?
Jeff Jarvis, blogger author of What Would Google Do?


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  17. ^ L. A. (Spring 1999). "Trio of Angels, Three students help free four death row inmates". Northwestern University Magazine. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
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  19. ^ Ortiz, Fiona (October 30, 2014). "Illinois releases prisoner, bringing wrongful conviction full circle". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
  20. ^ Wrongly Imprisoned for 15 Years Thanks to an Innocence Project
  21. ^ Did a group dedicated to exonerating inmates put an innocent man in jail?
  22. ^ Settlement reached in wrongful conviction lawsuit against Northwestern and former professor
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  27. ^ "Northwestern to turn over student emails to prosecutors". Chicago Tribune. September 24, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
  28. ^ Miner, Michael (October 20, 2011). "The Innocence Project crossed a line. But it's not a clear or straight line: Chicago magazine, David Protess, and the murky mores of investigative reporting". Chicago Reader. Retrieved October 23, 2011.
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  31. ^ "Spiegel Research Center". Archived from the original on September 18, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  32. ^ "Chicago Newsroom - Medill - Northwestern University". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  33. ^ "About". Medill News Service. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  34. ^ "Medill on the Hill".
  35. ^ "Northwestern - San Francisco Campus".
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  42. ^ "Public Relations Society of America Anvil Awards". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
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Coordinates: 42°3′2.8″N 87°40′27.1″W / 42.050778°N 87.674194°W / 42.050778; -87.674194