SHEILA S. CORONEL, the founding executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, has been named Dean of Academic Affairs at the Columbia Journalism School in New York.
Coronel, a respected and multi-awarded journalist and a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, had already been considered a giant among her colleagues even before she joined the faculty of Columbia Journalism School as Toni Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism and director of the Toni Stabile Center for Journalism in 2006.
Coronel started out as a print journalist covering the uncertain last years of Ferdinand Marcos before he was ousted in a popular military-backed revolt in 1986, as well as the turbulent transition to democracy. Coronel also made the transition from newspaper journalism to full-time investigative reporter when she and eight other veteran journalists formed the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) in 1989.
Coronel and her colleagues believed that the newly-won freedoms of the Philippine press could only be truly beneficial if journalists devote their energies to more in-depth data-driven reportage than chasing after ratings and ambulances.
Coronel was the founding executive director of the PCIJ. She shepherded the organization into a formidable independent media outfit whose reports have caused the resignations of one Supreme Court Justice and several cabinet officials, and the impeachment of a President. Coronel served as PCIJ director from its founding in 1989 to 2006, when she joined the faculty of Columbia Journalism School.
The PCIJ is celebrating its 25th or silver anniversary this year.
“Sheila is a superb journalist, teacher and leader,” said Columbia’s Dean Steve Coll in a statement released by the University. “Her deep commitment to investigative reporting, data science and global journalism make her ideally positioned to advance the school’s most important priorities. She has earned the great respect of her faculty colleagues and has done much to improve the school since she arrived here. She has also established herself as a media leader through her service to groups working to advance investigative journalism worldwide and to protect reporters under pressure.”
“I am honored and delighted to have this opportunity to serve as academic dean of a great institution,” Coronel was also quoted in the Columbia statement as saying. “We are at a period of uncertainty, as well as tremendous possibility, for both journalism and journalism education. It’s an exciting time to be at a top-tier journalism school.”
Aside from writing scores of investigative pieces, Coronel also authored or edited more than a dozen books, including The Rulemakers: How the wealthy and the well-born dominate Congress and Pork and Other Perks: Corruption and Governance in the Philippines.
Check it out: Sheila Coronel on journalism, governance, FOI, and more: