An 'awesome' opportunity
December 22, 2017
Soles Fellow works at Center for Public Integrity
Ryan Barwick, a 2017 University of Delaware graduate, describes his current yearlong internship in investigative journalism at the Center for Public Integrity as “a little intimidating but also awesome.”
Barwick, who graduated with a double major in American history and English in the College of Arts and Sciences, is working at the center as the 2017 recipient of the James R. Soles Fellowship, established in honor of the late University of Delaware professor of political science and international relations.
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization founded by Charles Lewis, a 1975 UD graduate, in 1989 in Washington, D.C. The mission of the center is to serve democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions.
Lewis later established the fellowship at the CPI in honor of his professor and mentor, who died in 2010. The fellowship is awarded each year to a graduating senior from the University, usually one with a background in political science and international relations.
Barwick was recommended for the fellowship by Deborah Gump, director of UD’s Journalism Program, and started working at CPI in late summer.
While at UD, Barwick served as the executive editor of The Review, the University’s student-run newspaper, and produced and hosted “Too Personal,” a show for UD’s radio station, WVUD.
Despite his experience in reporting, working in a newsroom dedicated solely to investigative journalism was something new for Barwick.
“Well, it’s different,” he said. “Because it’s a 9-to-5 situation, people aren’t trying to rush to a deadline. That being said, it’s seems as though everyone here is an expert in their own field. I’m surrounded by geniuses all the time — a little intimidating, but also awesome.”
While at CPI, Barwick is working with the Business in Politics team. His first story, which looked at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the future of the internet, topped off at 3,500 words. Having never before tackled such a long piece of journalism, Barwick said the two-month reporting and writing process with his supervisor, Allen Holmes, was a valuable educational experience.
“I’ve never done anything like that,” he said. “I had never gone through FCC files, which I don't really recommend, but they’re incredibly informative. It’s cool to see how much information is available to the public if you just look for it.”
While he wasn’t able to choose which team he would work with, Barwick said he was grateful to end up in Business in Politics, especially because he wouldn’t have selected it himself but now has found great subject matter.
“I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “It’s cool, too, because you’re writing about Verizon and Comcast, and these are all companies people know but they don’t know how much they influence politics.”
The James R. Soles Fellowship at the CPI is one of many initiatives honoring Prof. Soles’ distinguished career at the University, from 1968-2002, and his lifelong commitment to teaching, mentoring, civic engagement and public service.
In addition to graduate fellowships, undergraduate citizenship stipends and a named professorship, the James R. Soles Citizenship Endowment also holds an annual distinguished lecture on campus.
More about Prof. Soles and the fellowships is available on the Department of Political Science and International Relations website.