Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Friday, October 27, 2023

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter to deliver 2023 Taricani Lecture on First Amendment Rights

Caitlin Dickerson will explore the essential role of investigative journalism in the modern world

Kevin Stacey

Caitlin Dickerson

Caitlin Dickerson, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and staff writer for The Atlantic, will deliver the University of Rhode Island’s 2023 Taricani Lecture on First Amendment Rights on Wednesday, Nov. 1. at 5 p.m.

Her lecture, titled “Digging for Truth,” will explore the role of investigative journalism in modern society and how deep research and unassailable evidence can serve as a valuable check against inequality. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in-person in the Swan Hall auditorium, 60 Upper College Road, and will be streamed live. Registration and livestream information can be found on the event’s website.

“In an era where misinformation and media distrust are so prevalent, the work of great investigative reporters like Caitlin Dickerson becomes even more important,” said Ammina Kothari, director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media, which co-sponsors the lecture series. 

“She’s able to dig beneath rhetoric and reveal hard truths that are otherwise obscured. That kind of reporting is essential in the modern world and serves as a great example to our students.”

The Taricani lecture honors award-winning investigative reporter Jim Taricani H’18, who became a Rhode Island icon for his coverage of corruption and organized crime, his heroic stance in protecting a confidential source, and his advocacy of a federal shield law to protect journalists. 

Shortly after he passed away in 2019, Taricani’s family endowed the lecture series to honor his memory, his work, and his courageous commitment to protect First Amendment rights.

Dickerson won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism for her cover story in The Atlantic titled, “We Need to Take Away Children.” Between 2018 and 2021, the U.S. implemented a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents. 

Dickerson’s reporting revealed that family separation was more than just an unintended side-effect of zero tolerance, it was an integral part of the strategy. Moreover, Dickerson’s reporting showed that officials knew that without rigorous safeguards it would be difficult to keep track of children’s whereabouts after separation. Those safeguards weren’t put in place, and today hundreds of children have yet to be reunited with their parents.

In prior investigative reporting, Dickerson revealed that the U.S. government had secretly conducted race-based chemical weapons experiments on American soldiers during World War II. 

Another investigation found a pattern of sexual harassment and abuse of women employed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In addition to her Pulitzer, Dickerson has won a Peabody Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award. Before The Atlantic, Dickerson was an investigative reporter at The New York Times and at NPR.

Dickerson’s lecture will be the third in the Taricani series. URI alumnus John King, chief national correspondent at CNN, delivered the inaugural lecture. Last year’s lecture featured Neil Bedi and Kathleen McGrory, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporters for ProPublica.