About Watchdog Writers Group

The Watchdog Writers Group is a nonprofit journalism fellowship program and teaching lab based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The WWG has a dual mission: to financially support authors as they write a deeply reported nonfiction book in the public interest, while simultaneously training the next generation of young reporters.

The WWG’s centerpiece program is a top-tier fellowship for established journalists who are writing a book. The program will give fellows an annual stipend of at least $50,000 for two years, supporting them as they step away from their day jobs to conduct the type of time-consuming, onerous reporting that falls through the cracks in over-stressed newsrooms.

Watchdog Writers Group funds the type of deep investigative journalism that is no longer supported by the private marketplace. We do this by giving annual fellowships to authors, and by hiring students to be reporters alongside them. In doing this, the program hopes to revitalize newsgathering in the middle of the country about vitally important issues.
- WWG Director Christopher Leonard
Books Stacked

The WWG will also partner each fellow with a graduate student at the Missouri Journalism School. The student will be a reporting assistant to the fellow, conducting a year-long apprenticeship that teaches them the best practices and ethics of investigative reporting. During the second half of their year-long program, each student will write and report a story of their own under the fellow’s mentorship.

The Group was launched in early 2020 with a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the Schmidt Family Foundation. Because it is based at the Missouri Journalism School, the WWG has access to world-class faculty and student reporters, making it a vitally important hub for print journalism and training in the heart of the Midwest.

The Team

THE AUTHORS

Pamela Colloff

FELLOW

Pamela Colloff

Staff writer, New York Times Magazine and Senior Reporter at ProPublica

Writing a book about the criminal justice system and jailhouse informants.

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PATRICIA “P.J.” HUFFSTUTTER

FELLOW

Patricia “P.J.” Huffstutter

Agribusiness Reporter at Reuters News

Writing a book about the farm debt crisis in rural America.

READ BIO

FELLOW

John Eligon

New York Times National Correspondent

Developing a book project about the Black Lives Matter movement.

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CHRISTOPHER LEONARD

DIRECTOR

Christopher Leonard

Executive Director of the WWG

Writing a book about the Federal Reserve Bank and the American economy.

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THE STUDENTS

STEVEN GARRISON

Steven Garrison

Working with Pamela Colloff to investigate the criminal justice system in Missouri and other states.

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PENG “FION” CHEN

Peng “Fion” Chen

Working with P.J. Huffstutter to build a unique, searchable database of farm debt and loan defaults across America.

READ BIO
KELLY KULLMAN

Kelly Kullman

Working with Christopher Leonard to research the modern history of U.S. banks.

READ BIO
LEARN MORE

How to get involved

Learn more about our fellowship program

Learn more about donating to WWG

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“False Witness”

The New York Times Magazine