Duquesne University School of Law

Fact Investigations Class Collaborates with Post-Gazette Reporters

Duquesne Law’s criminal justice program has formed a partnership with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to provide law students with hands-on experience researching legal topics with investigative journalists. During the initiative, Investigative Reporter Rich Lord and other PG writers and Duquesne Law faculty direct students in the Fact Investigations class in semester-long projects.

In May 2014, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published the results of one of those investigations – an exhaustive examination of the mortgage fraud crisis and how federal prosecutors chose their targets and their cooperators.  During the project Duquesne Law students learned:

  • how to use meta-data analysis to mine thousands of pages of documents;
  • how to interview sympathetic, sensitive, and potentially hostile witnesses; and
  • how to tell the story about the gap between the doctrines they studied in criminal law and patterns that emerged through a process of plea bargaining.  

In another series of stories, published in September 2015, students focused on health care fraud prosecutions in the region and across the country. Read a selection of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stories and a Forbes.com overview of the mortgage-fraud collaboration by Associate Dean and Criminal Justice Program Director Wes Oliver.

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