How WWG works

The Watchdog Writers Group provides fellowships to established journalists who are writing a book. The fellowship includes financial stipends and other means of support, such as research assistance, networking opportunities and workshops with other authors. Fellows will work remotely, but travel to the University of Missouri campus twice a year to workshop ideas, share their expertise with students, and help one another through the book writing process.

Fellows write books of diligent, objective journalism that investigate vital social issues and that are targeted to a broad audience. The fellows will focus on topics that are being neglected by increasingly coastal-centric media outlets. These books won’t focus on the White House or Wall Street, but will focus on issues such as the opioid crisis, corporate agribusiness, the coal industry, gun violence, police discrimination in African-American communities and more. The Watchdog Writers Group provides fellowships to established journalists with a book contract. The fellowship includes financial stipends and other means of support, such as research assistance, networking opportunities and workshops with other authors.

Fellows write books in the vein of the classic American muckrakers — books of diligent, objective journalism that investigate vital social issues and that are targeted to a broad audience. The fellows will focus on topics that are being neglected by increasingly coastal-centric media outlets. These books won’t focus on the White House or Wall Street, but will focus on issues such as the opioid crisis, corporate agribusiness, the coal industry, gun violence, police discrimination in African-American communities and more.

The Group selects students to work alongside the fellows, teaching them the invaluable skills and the ethical conduct of investigative journalism. As part of the program, students will get academic credit and a generous stipend. This will help mitigate one of the worst effects of the journalism industry downturn: the lack of entry level jobs. As with other opportunities under the “Missouri Method” umbrella, WWG students will be ready to hit the ground running because of this hands-on experience.

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

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.

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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.

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KELLY KULLMAN

Kelly Kullman

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

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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