Campus sexual assault investigative series

Campus sexual assault investigative series

Upon my application to the journalism major during my sophomore year, I indicated that I would one day like to be a muckraker. This series allowed me to explore that field and opened my eyes to an entirely different world of journalism—one that focuses on intense research and hopes for social change.

In a four-part series, I conducted research and interviews to uncover the shadowed topic of sexual assault on the campus of Illinois State University. During this series I unveiled the staggering truth behind unreported rape on college campuses through a survey and spoke with survivors who recalled their sexual assaults. The best way to battle sexual assault is to stop pretending like it does not happen and face it head on. My goal with this series was to simply start the conversation.

Part I: Rape remains shadowed on Illinois State’s campus

Part II: Study finds unreported rape at ISU

Part III: Survivors recall their sexual assaults

Part IV: Local figures react to issue of sexual assault

An infographic I created based on the information gathered through these stories can be found here.

chart
Infographic by Jeremy Burcenski, Vidette Art Director, 2016

 If I were to write this series again, I would spend more time finding the minor details to sew together the storylines. For example, the survey I conducted was only available for three weeks before I had to close it for my results story. If I was less worried about finishing the story and more focused on finding the information that would make my findings truly stand out, I feel that my series would have had more impactful results. Additionally, I saved the survivors’ stories for the third installment. Looking back, had I done that earlier on in the series, perhaps as the first installment, I believe audiences would have been pulled into the topic more instantaneously. Finally, I would like to explore one additional story as part of the series: a look into past sexual assault perpetrators and their outlook on the topic after having gone through the aftermath. A unique point of view like this would have raised a lot of interest on a college campus.

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