VILLANOVA, Pa. — The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University has received a grant from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism to partner with The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships at Drexel University on infusing more historical scholarship into local journalism.
The Lepage Center, Lenfest Center and The Inquirer will collaborate through the grant on a pilot initiative that will bring together local historians and local journalists who each research and report on common topics of critical import to society: the opioid crisis, immigration, and infrastructure.
“Historians and journalists are both dedicated to understanding the world around us through careful gathering of evidence, critical analysis of sources, and honest inquiries into societal affairs,” said Lepage Center director Jason Steinhauer. “Collaboration between these two professions will help Philadelphians understand these issues better, help combat misinformation in our public sphere, and further media and historical literacy in our region.”
Select Inquirer journalists and local historians will participate in a one-day working session to share expertise, resources, and formulate story ideas around these three societal issues. Following the workshop, the journalists and historians will collaborate on stories that will appear in either The Inquirer or Inquirer.com. Podcast conversations and/or audio stories will also be released.
“Providing strong historical context is something our readers appreciate and our journalists always strive to achieve,” said Stan Wischnowski, Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We think this partnership with our local historians could unlock a deeper level of understanding on local topics of great public interest.”
This first-of-its-kind initiative between historians and journalists is envisioned as an initial step in bringing these two professions into closer working relationship. The Lepage Center will seek additional support to fund similar collaborations in Philadelphia and other cities.
“The Lenfest Institute is deeply committed to supporting local journalism and to strengthening civic and historical literacy,” said Lenfest Institute Executive Director & CEO Jim Friedlich. “Where better than Philadelphia to launch an initiative that brings together journalists and historians dedicated to truth and understanding, informed and enlightened by the lessons of the past.”
The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest is a multifaceted resource that draws upon the past to impart lessons for the modern world. The Center engages the public through academic programs, research, publications and events. The Center engages the public, policymakers, scholars, teachers and students from history and other fields—contributing to a more informed and engaged public. Among its greatest goals, the Lepage Center strives to have a visible and tangible impact on the way history is taught to future generations.
About The Lenfest Institute for Journalism: The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is the first-of-its-kind non-profit organization whose sole mission is to develop and support sustainable business models for great local journalism. The Institute was founded in 2016 by cable television entrepreneur H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest. Lenfest gifted to the Institute an initial endowment of $20 million, which has since been supplemented by other donors, for investment in innovative news initiatives, new technology, and new models for sustainable journalism. Lenfest also gifted his ownership of the The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. The Institute is overseen by a Board of Managers including news executives, media entrepreneurs, software and technology executives, philanthropists, community leaders and leading academics.
About The Philadelphia Inquirer: With multiple brand platforms and integrated print and digital products, The Philadelphia Inquirer is the region’s largest media network and an innovator and technological leader in the local news industry. The Inquirer, a Public Benefit Corporation, produces award-winning journalism that is distributed in print and online to more than 1.7 million adults per week in the eight-county area.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.