Protess Leaves Northwestern, Starts Wrongful Conviction Reporting Unit


David Protess, a controversial Northwestern University journalism professor who started a landmark program to investigate wrongful convictions, will retire in August, reports the Chicago Tribune. Protess went from making news for helping set prisoners free to becoming the focus of the headlines, as his actions with the university and his techniques came under fire in the last year.

After years of promoting Protess’ work and using it in a fundraising brochure, the university said that, “The work done by students who took classes that worked on Innocence Project cases contributed to the exoneration of 11 wrongfully convicted men, five of whom were on death row. That work will continue.” Protess was put on leave after university officials said he misled them in connection with an ongoing investigation into whether Anthony McKinney was wrongfully convicted of murder more than 30 years ago. Last week, Protess moved to the Chicago Innocence Project, a nonprofit he founded to do work similar to that of the Medill Journalism School Innocence Project. “It’s the first investigative reporting nonprofit to solely investigate wrongful convictions,” he said.

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