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Media School receives $6 million donation for investigative journalism center


A statue of alumnus and World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle typing on his typewriter was installed in front of Franklin Hall in 2014.  According to "Indiana University Bloomington: America’s Legacy Campus," the statue is meant to “convey how Pyle worked alongside foot soldiers at the front during WW2.”  IDS file photo Buy Photos

The Media School has received the largest gift in its history for the foundation of an independent investigative journalism center, according to an IU press release.

The $6 million donation from IU alumnus Michael I. Arnolt will launch the Michael I. Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism in fall 2019. According to the release, the center will provide opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to work on multimedia investigative reporting on issues important to Indiana residents.

“I’m thrilled to be able to announce this transformational gift for the Media School and for journalism in Indiana,”  Media School Dean James Shanahan said in the release.

Arnolt graduated from IU in 1967 with a bachelor of Arts in journalism, and spent five and a half years reporting for the Elkhart Truth, according to the release. He later became the co-founder of Graston Technique, a physical therapy education company.

“The skills and inquisitiveness I acquired as a reporter/writer have benefitted me throughout my professional life,” Arnolt said in the release. “Fairness, accuracy and being thorough in reporting are the canons to which we subscribe.”

A portion of Arnolt’s gift will go toward fellowships for up to four graduate students and scholarships for as many as 10 undergraduates for a chance to learn investigative reporting in a real-world setting.

The work produced by the center will be distributed at no cost to local, regional and national news outlets, establishing professional networks across the country. Considered a nonprofit, the center will maintain editorial independence from the Media School and IU. 

A director will lead the center and guide students working on investigative projects, while also helping to enhance the investigative journalism curriculum. The search for the director will begin Sept. 7.

“I am very proud to be a part of the center,” Arnolt said in the release. “It’s a way to make a difference.”

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