SOLUTIONS AND INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

Shane Hoffmann

Junior, journalism
Catalyst Journalism Project, Daily Emerald sports editor
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Shane Hoffmann already had his hands full covering sports for the UO’s independent student-run newspaper, the Daily Emerald, when the pandemic hit. But when supply chains fell into disarray and food insecurity began to rise, he started seeing big problems everywhere—problems that needed solutions.

That’s when he discovered the Catalyst Journalism Project, which combines a reporting style known as solutions journalism with investigative journalism to find what’s working and spur community action. His first solutions story, on a Portland-based nonprofit that retooled its program to meet the dietary needs of indigenous communities, was published in the East Oregonian. Since then, he has written pieces for Eugene Weekly, the Oregonian, the Portland Tribune, and Ethos, a student-run magazine.

“My goal is to tell stories that are impactful, not just narratively, but in terms of magnifying problems or furthering discourse,” he said.

Although he’s still passionate about sports, Hoffmann is equally committed to exploring how innovative approaches such as solutions journalism can add depth and impact to his articles. Taking a data journalism class has also expanded his skills in a new direction.

“What the SOJC is doing to push this stuff ahead is great,” he said. “It’s all interconnected, and it has strengthened my writing as a whole—as it relates to sports, as well. I’ve definitely seen that pay off.”

“The Catalyst Journalism Program kickstarted my freelancing experience. I hadn’t done it before, but since then, I’ve done a lot of independent freelancing.”
Shane Hoffmann

a student reporter interviews a subject surrounded by plants

a student journalist records a person at a rally

two students consult over a camera

A hand holds a copy of the Classroom 15 book

Student Assignment Becomes Investigative Reporting Book Classroom 15

Professor Peter Laufer gave his journalism students a 30-minute investigative reporting assignment to track down an elementary student involved in a mysterious pen-pal project in 1959. The students found the woman—and then kept digging. Multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, hours spent combing the archives and government files, a trip to Moscow, and two years later, the students published their findings with Anthem Press in Classroom 15: How the Hoover FBI Censored the Dreams of Innocent Fourth Graders.

Dig into the Story

Meet the Journalism Faculty

a portrait of Nicole Dahmen taken outdoors

Nicole Dahmen

Associate professor of journalism

Nicole Dahmen isn’t just interested in what journalism is. She thinks a lot about what it should be. As the co-director of The Catalyst Journalism Project and the co-coordinator of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism, Dahmen believes journalism has the ability to hold the powerful accountable, elevate underrepresented voices, and make a positive impact in society. Her research sits at the intersection of visual journalism, ethics, and contextual reporting and has gained her a national and international reputation in solutions journalism.

Brent Walth in front of a brick wall

Brent Walth ’84

Assistant professor of journalism

Pulitzer-winning journalist Brent Walth joined his alma mater as a professor in 2015 after more than 30 years as an editor, author, and investigative reporter. He is co-director of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism and co-coordinator of The Catalyst Journalism Project, where he brings investigative journalism together with solutions-oriented reporting and helps student journalists publish their work with professional news organizations. He also founded a scholarship for SOJC students who demonstrate a commitment to watchdog reporting.

Seth Lewis gestures to a student while seated in his office

Seth Lewis

Journalism program director

Seth Lewis is an internationally recognized expert on news and technology. In 2021, he co-authored the book News After Trump: Journalism's Crisis of Relevance in a Changed Media Culture. The founding holder of the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media, Lewis’ research focuses on the digital transformation of journalism—from how news is made to how people make sense of it in their everyday lives. He has published over 60 journal articles and book chapters.

Ann Curry speaks to a class of SOJC students in the Allen Hall studio

What our alumni say

Ann Curry ’78

Broadcast Journalist
Host of TNT/TBS’s Chasing the Cure

“I think that news organizations are recognizing not only their responsibility, I think the citizens are recognizing the value of journalism. I think there are more eager, young, smart future journalists coming out of our J-schools full of vim and vigor, as my father would say, who want to be great, who see this as a calling, as I have never stopped seeing it.”

Read More of Ann's Wisdom