News, insights & analysis



The WikiLeaks firestarter has found a way to communicate using Twitter from inside the United States Disciplinary Barracks’ maximum-security military prison.

 →  Find out how Manning pulled it off

first time on the front line: a rookie’s guide to reporting in ukraine

12/25: A Ukrainian soldier at a checkpoint near Debaltseve. Note the tourniquet next to the radio. He is also wearing a plate carrier with no Kevlar.  (Photo Credit: James Sprankle)

Check out Kyiv-based photojournalist James Sprankle’s crash course on covering the current conflict in Ukraine as an embedded reporter, complete with photos.

 →  Read the reporting guide here

Agile acquisition to retain technological edge act: a journalist’s guide


Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, has proposed acquisition reform legislation, co-sponsoring with Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., a bill called the Agile Acquisition to Retain Technological Edge Act.

 →  Read the NSZ guide here

medill undergrads dive into privacy

Students in Medill’s Washington newsroom wrote  a suite of stories tackling various aspects of privacy and civil liberties. Read them here.

A three-month investigation by students from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications sheds new light on $3.2 billion U.S. mine clearance and victim assistance effort.

Deadly Debris: America’s legacy of explosive remnants around the world
→ Read more about the project




The Medill NSJI has been elected to membership in the Global Investigative Journalism Network, an international association of nonprofit organizations that support, promote, and produce accountability and watchdog reporting.

Click here to read the press release

understanding the islamic state: natioNAL WAR COLLEGE PROFESSORS BREAK DOWN ITS ROOTS AND RISE

(From left) Panel moderator Josh Meyer and panelists Dr. Richard B. Andres and Dr. Omer Taspinar speak during the Understanding the Islamic State Panel at the National Press Club in Washington on April 6, 2015. (Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory/MEDILL NSJI)

The analysis by Dr. Omer Taspinar and Dr. Richard B. Andres broke down into two sections: the relationship between radicalization and the Islamic State’s rise to power, and the role of social media in radicalization.

Read about the event here

cracking the code: workshop gives journalists a crash course in encryption

TestBed's Aaron Rinehart lectures to seminar attendees prior to the hands-on portion of the day on April 3, 2015. (Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory/MEDILL NSJI)

The minds behind TestBed, Inc., a Virginia-based IT consulting firm specializing in IT planning, analytics, testing, prototyping and business advice for the public and private sectors, gave journalists a crash course in digital safety and encryption techniques at an April 3 seminar in Washington.

 → Read about the event here
 → Get a student’s take on the event here

James Foley’s death inspires other journalists

Northwestern University held a memorial service for the journalist, a graduate of the school who was slain by members of the Islamic State.

Continue to the story.
James Foley: A legacy that lives on (VIDEO)

“Whistleblowers, Leaks, and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security”

The new book, edited by Medill’s Ellen Shearer, Paul Rosenzweig and Timothy McNulty delves into the various areas of law surrounding the recent and well-known cases of NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Private First Class Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, among others.

WATCH: Academics debate journalists’ role in national security leaks.

Website gives voice to members of American military

Launched in July, Blue Force Tracker shows what’s going on in the military through pieces often produced by current or former members of the armed forces.

Continue to the story

Delphine Halgand on the challenges for growing number of freelance journalists (Webinar)

Delphine Halgand, U.S. director of Reporters Without Borders, explains how freelance reporting is growing around the world and the need those reporters have for a support system as well as information. The organization and its offices provide help for journalists by advising them on available insurance plans, by showing them how to protect their computers as well as their sources from intrusive government snooping. For those covering conflicts, RWB even loans out helmets and flak jackets. The need is greater than ever, according to Halgand, as more governments and groups show hostility toward journalists trying to expose harsh conditions and wrongdoing.

How-to: Covering nuclear weapons operations

Penetrating the world of nuclear weapons is not as hard for a determined journalist as you might think – or as the government might like you to think. It is secretive but not inscrutable.

If you are committed and well-prepared, you can find news in this field and illuminate an aspect of U.S. national security that can seem like an abstraction, even an anachronism, but is still relevant to the lives of all Americans.

The key is knowing where to look, how to decipher the military lingo and why it matters what is taking place within the insular world of nuclear forces. You don’t need to be a military expert or a rocket scientist.

Continue reading our how-to guide on covering nuclear weapons.

Story behind the story

Read how AP’s national security writer discovered problems in the nation’s nuclear defense system and wound up with a ‘months-long cascade of revelations.’