Charles Lewis (journalist)

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Charles Lewis
Chuck photo.jpg
Born (1953-10-30) October 30, 1953 (age 66)

Charles Lewis is an investigative journalist based in Washington D.C. Lewis founded The Center for Public Integrity and several other nonprofit organizations and is currently the executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication in D.C. He was an investigative producer for ABC News and the CBS news program 60 Minutes. He left 60 Minutes in 1989 and began the Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan group which reports on political and government workings, from his home, growing it to a full-time staff of 40 people.[1] [2] When commenting on his move away from prime-time journalism, Lewis expressed his frustration that the most important issues of the day were not being reported.

Lewis has given interviews for various publications and appeared in the 2003 documentary Orwell Rolls in His Grave and the 2005 documentary Why We Fight and others. He has discussed the difficulties facing media in trying keeping the public informed when television, newspaper and radio outlets are owned almost entirely by a few major corporations such as Comcast, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

He was a Ferris Professor at Princeton University in 2005, a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University in the spring of 2006, and is currently a tenured professor of journalism at American University in Washington, D.C.

Lewis' 2014 book is 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity[3]

He was awarded the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence[4] by Harvard's Nieman Foundation in 2018.

Center for Public Integrity[edit]

CPI published roughly 300 investigative reports, including 14 books, (including The Buying of the President 2004, Lewis's fifth and last co-authored book with the Center and a New York Times bestseller)[5] from 1989 through 2004, and was honored more than 30 times by national journalism associations. In 1996, the New Yorker called CPI "the center for campaign scoops."[6] That year Lewis and the Center published Fat Cat Hotel, a report which first revealed that the Clinton administration had been rewarding major donors with White House stays in the "Lincoln Bedroom." Weeks before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Center posted secret draft Patriot Act II[7] legislation, and in October posted all of the known U.S. contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report, Windfalls of War first identified that Halliburton had received the most money from those contracts, and won the first George Polk Award. In 2008, Lewis created, directed and co-authored "The Iraq War Card," a 380,000-word chronology and analysis of the pre-war public rhetoric by leading members of the Bush administration, which identified 935 "false statements" about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists[edit]

Since 1992, Lewis has traveled and spoken publicly in 25 countries. In late 1997 he began the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the world's first working network of 100 reporters in 50 countries (by 2013, 175 reporters in over 60 countries), producing content across borders, which made the Center's website[8] the "first global website devoted to international exposés," according to The Encyclopedia of Journalism.[citation needed]

The Fund for Independence in Journalism[edit]

In 2003, Lewis was the founding president of the Fund for Independence in Journalism, a 509 (a)(3) nonprofit, tax exempt organization created to foster independent, high quality, public service journalism primarily by providing legal defense and endowment support to the Center for Public Integrity. He resigned at the end of 2008 and the organization went dormant, all of its assets given to the Center for Public Integrity.

Global Integrity[edit]

In 1999, Lewis conceived the idea and in 2005 co-founded Global Integrity,[9] an independent, nonprofit organization utilizing journalists and social scientists to track governance and corruption trends around the world.

Investigative Reporting Workshop[edit]

In the spring of 2008, Lewis, along with fellow American University professor Wendell Cochran, founded the Investigative Reporting Workshop, a project of American University School of Communication.[10] A professional journalism center, the workshop conducts significant, multimedia investigative journalism projects on a national and international scale and has collaborated with many major media outlets, such as Frontline, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC News, ABC News, BBC America and McClatchy Newspapers. Lewis is executive editor of the workshop.

Investigative News Network[edit]

In July 2009, Lewis co-founded the Investigative News Network, a nonprofit consortium of over 90 nonprofit, non-partisan newsrooms around the country dedicated to investigative and public-service journalism.

Media appearances[edit]

Lewis has been interviewed in numerous major newspapers and he has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show and Nightly News; ABC's World News Tonight, Good Morning America, 20/20 and Nightline; CBS' 60 Minutes, Evening News and Morning News; CNN; C-SPAN; The Daily Show;[11] and numerous other TV and radio programs.


Lewis was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1998. In 2004, PEN USA, a literary organization, awarded its First Amendment Award to him,"for expanding the reach of investigative journalism, for his courage in going after a story regardless of whose toes he steps on, and for boldly exercising his freedom of speech and freedom of the press." In 2009, The Encyclopedia of Journalism cited Lewis as "one of the 30 most notable investigative reporters in the U.S. since World War I. That same year, he was given an honorary degree by his alma mater the University of Delaware. In 2013, the University of Missouri awarded him its Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.


  1. ^ Lewis, Charles (June 29, 2014). "Why I Left 60 Minutes". Politico. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  2. ^ Ken Silverstein (June 30, 2007). "Undercover, under fire". LA Times. Retrieved 2007-07-01.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Center For Public Integrity: The Buying of the President
  6. ^ "2000 CPI Annual Report" (PDF). The Center for Public Integrity. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  7. ^ Lewis, Charles; Adam Mayle (February 7, 2003). "Justice Dept. drafts sweeping expansion of anti-terrorism act-Center publishes secret draft of "Patriot II" legislation". The Center for Public Integrity. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  8. ^ "The Center for Public Integrity". Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  9. ^ "Independent Information on Governance and Corruption". Global Integrity. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  10. ^ "Charles Lewis". Investigative Reporting Workshop. 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  11. ^ Daily Show interview with Charles Lewis

External links[edit]