Maud Beelman, the award-winning U.S. investigations editor for The Associated Press, will be the founding executive editor of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University.
Beelman, who will hold the faculty rank of professor of practice, will lead the new Scripps Howard Foundation-funded institute at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The Howard Center, named in honor of news pioneer and media executive Roy W. Howard, will develop a new cadre of investigative journalists by tapping into time-honored in-depth reporting methods, new technology-enabled reporting and storytelling techniques and research methods incorporated from a wide array of other fields such as law, business, medicine, the arts and the social sciences.
The Howard Center will be an immersive teaching, learning and news production environment in which Beelman and other top professional journalists will lead aspiring investigative reporters, often from professions and disciplines outside of journalism. The center, which will produce major investigations on all platforms in partnerships with national and regional news organizations, will be the capstone experience for students enrolled in Cronkite’s first-in-the-nation master’s degree in investigative journalism.
The degree program and Howard Center officially launch this summer. Beelman will join Cronkite next month to design the center and a series of new courses taught by leading professors from other colleges and disciplines across ASU, the nation’s largest research university with more than 3,400 professors in 800 degree programs.
“We’re thrilled to have an investigative journalist of Maud Beelman’s caliber leading the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at ASU,” said Liz Carter, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation who led the efforts to create Howard Centers at Arizona State and the University of Maryland. “Her breadth of experience, innovative spirit and commitment to developing young journalists make her the ideal person to shape this groundbreaking program.”
Beelman was selected following an intensive national search. As U.S. investigations editor for The Associated Press, she leads a multiplatform team of national investigative reporters. The team’s most recent works include an investigation into the Pentagon’s handling of sexual assaults among U.S. military dependents and an in-depth look at the safety and regulation of medical devices.
Previously, she was the deputy managing editor for projects at the Dallas Morning News, leading a 15-member team focused on investigative and enterprise stories.
Beelman also was the founding director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. ICIJ, launched by the Center for Public Integrity, was the first global network of investigative reporters. She built and supervised a network of more than 90 journalists in 45 countries, designing and delivering award-winning international investigations.
Her honors include the George Polk Award, Sigma Delta Chi Award, ABA Silver Gavel, National Headliner Award and awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Associated Press Media Editors and Society of Professional Journalists.
“Maud Beelman is the perfect choice as founding executive editor of the Cronkite School’s Howard Center,” said Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post who now serves as the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Cronkite.
Downie said Beelman “will be the leading educator of new investigative reporters, a producer of investigative journalism of national importance, an innovator in the Howard Center’s unique multidiscipline, data-harvesting and multimedia dimensions, and a collaborator who will increase the impact of students’ investigative stories through use by news media throughout the country.”
The chair of the Howard Center search committee was Sarah Cohen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former data editor of The New York Times and Washington Post, who is now the Knight Chair in Data Journalism at the Cronkite School.
“Maud has spent most of her career teaching reporters how to conduct investigations, building collaborations within and outside her organizations, and learning from experts in other disciplines — all while overseeing investigations that had national and international impact,” Cohen said. “We can’t wait for her to bring that special experience to the Howard Center.”
Beelman joins a team of award-winning journalists at the Cronkite School who specialize in investigative journalism: Pulitzer Prize winners Cohen; Downie; Jacquee Petchel, the former Miami Herald and Houston Chronicle investigations editor, who now leads Cronkite’s Carnegie-Knight News21 program; and Walter V. Robinson, the former editor of The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, who now is the school’s Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor.
All served on the national search committee for the Howard Center executive editor. Other search committee members were: Mi-Ai Parrish, former publisher of The Arizona Republic and Kansas City Star, who serves as the school’s Sue Clark-Johnson Professor in Media Innovation and Leadership; Julia Wallace, the former editor-in-chief of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who is the school’s Frank Russell Chair in the Business of Journalism; and Kristin Gilger, Cronkite senior associate dean who holds the Reynolds Professorship in Business Journalism.
Those professors will play central roles in the delivery of the new Master of Arts in Investigative Journalism.
“I’m so honored to have been chosen and so excited to work with these amazing journalists at the innovative and distinguished Cronkite School,” Beelman said. “I’ve had the good fortune to do many wonderful things in my career, but being offered the chance to help shape the future of investigative reporting is more than I could have hoped for.”
Beelman started her news career after receiving a master’s degree from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She joined the AP as a reporter and editor, working in news bureaus in Louisiana, Florida and Pennsylvania and later in New York and Washington.
She also was a foreign correspondent, covering the wars in the former Yugoslavia, postwar conflict in Iran and Iraq, German reunification and other major stories across Europe and the Middle East. Her foreign work parallels that of the center’s namesake, the late Roy W. Howard.
Howard, who went on to lead and greatly expand the Scripps-Howard newspaper empire, early in his career was a journalist and executive at United Press, a global news service and competitor to the AP at the time. Throughout his career, he traveled the globe interviewing world leaders and covering the most important issues of the day.
“We are thrilled that Maud Beelman will be creating the next generation of great investigative journalists, finding new partnerships with media organizations and other disciplines, and preserving, protecting and honoring the legacy of Roy Howard and the ideals and values of the Howard Center and Scripps Howard Foundation,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan.