Reporting class reveals flaws in camp safety records

The Media School Report • June 29, 2017
Gerry Lanosga (Marjory Richards | The Media School)

Students in assistant professor Gerry Lanosga’s Investigative Reporting class spent three months in the spring researching state records on injury and illness reports provided by overnight youth camps.

Their reporting of 10 years of data yielded problems both with the failure of camps to file the required reports, and with a lack of regulation enforcement by the state.

Overnight camps must file reports after events resulting in hospitalization, a positive X-ray or lab result or a child being sent home. The students found, however, that even the most serious incidents, including the death of a camper last summer, were not reported to the state.

Their findings resulted in a series of stories that are available free to news media.  

The project also led to a collaboration with WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, which broadcast a story based on the students’ findings. According to WTHR, “Following questions from WTHR and the IU Media School, the state health department says it decided to send a letter to Indiana summer camps, reminding them of their obligation to file injury and illness reports.”

Camp directors told WTHR they never received the letter. 

IU student Nikos Potamousis (facing camera) explains the camp safety reporting project to WTHR-TV senior investigative reporter Bob Segall. (Bill Ditton, WTHR | Courtesy photo)

Students contributing to this project were Andrew Maciejewski, Alyson Malinger, Josh Margolis, Jackie Melichar, Nikos Potamousis, Kacey Ross and Jenna Wilen.

Lanosga is a former investigative reporter who worked in print and TV. He supervised the students’ work and edited their final projects.

Read the stories here.