The Center works with the school’s Urban Investigative Reporting class to help ethnic and community publications tackle investigative reporting projects that they would like to cover but lack the resources to do.
Under the guidance of Tom Robbins, a seasoned investigative reporter, the 2011 class compiled a lengthy, multi-part series for City Limits Magazine, a publication that focuses on New York City neighborhoods and policies.
The articles focused on the real estate empire of a major Bronx real estate speculator whose scores of properties had long been cited by tenants and city officials for poor housing conditions and where a fatal fire due to building hazards had cost the life of an eight-year-old boy. The result was a special issue 45-page issue of City Limits called, “The Phantom Landlord.”
In 2012, the class probed political patronage in the Bronx courts for a series of stories that will run in the Riverdale Press. Students examined the process by which politically-connected attorneys won lucrative assignments from judges who relied on political party support for nomination and election to the bench.
Tom Robbins has been a columnist and staff writer at the Village Voice, the New York Daily News, and The New York Observer. His stories on political corruption and urban issues have been cited by many organizations, including Investigative Reporters and Editors, the New York Press Club, the Deadline Club, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, which gave his political columns in the Voice its top award in both 2009 and 2010.