Georgetown Journalism Students Sue FBI, CIA, DOD for Pearl Records

A group of current and recent journalism students at Georgetown University are suing the FBI, CIA, and six other government agencies for records related to the 2002 kidnapping and death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.  According to The Washington Post, the students have been attempting to solve the Pakistan-set murder mystery for more than a year, a quest that started as a class project in a Georgetown j-course.

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As the Post reports:

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The students’ assignment was to find out who killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and why. Although the class ended last spring and many of the students graduated, they’re still trying to write that last paper. . . . Yesterday [Dec. 18], the group, known as the Pearl Project and now attached to the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court asking for the release of records by the CIA, FBI, Defense Department and five other federal agencies. . . . In the early days of the class, [the instructor] told the students of her longtime friendship with Pearl, a musician who hung out with her in Adams Morgan bars after work in the 1990s. . . . The class immediately felt different — more emotional, weightier, students said. “We weren’t sitting in front of a textbook reading about Danny Pearl’s case,” said Erin Delmore, a 2008 graduate. “We were in it, head-first in it.”

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To me, at the most general level, the group’s efforts are a wonderful example of two things:

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1) The genuine impact student journalism can make when channeled toward a worthwhile, focused goal.

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2) The importance of a knowledgeable, impassioned adviser to direct j-students’ talents and energies.

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