Investigative Reporting on Campus

Kent State reporter draws national attention with unraveling of  university’s controversial relationship with would-be donor

By Dan Reimold
University of Tampa

Doug Brown, an enterprise reporter for the Daily Kent Stater at Ohio’s Kent State University, is the most famous student journalist so far in 2012.

Doug Brown

Early last month, Brown reported on the past legal troubles of Jason Cope, an alumnus who was preparing to donate $1 million to the Kent State athletics program and have the school’s basketball court named after him.  He dove into the story after the paper’s web editor received an email from a stranger with a one-sentence tip: “Google Jason Cope v SEC.”

What Brown discovered: A bit more than a decade ago, as branch manager of a financial firm, Cope had been part of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of close to $9 million.  He was found guilty of breaking federal securities laws that “involved fraud and deceit” and ordered with his co-defendants “to pay a total of more than $19 million in penalties.” Continue reading

Kent State Investigation: A Student Reporter’s Story

In Doug Brown’s own words on his investigative reporting:

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Kent State University student journalist Doug Brown has received national recognition in journalism circles for his coverage of the withdrawal of a $1 million donation to the university’s athletics department from an alumnus whose investment firm once defrauded investors of nearly $9 million.

Daniel Reimold interviewed Brown about this continuing story and the reporter’s use of public records in his investigative reporting. Continue reading