Investigative Reporting Course

April 05-06, 2024
Palo Alto, CA

About the Conference

As the recent controversies at Harvard and Stanford have shown, even the most elite institutions in the country are not immune to the scrutiny of quality journalism. It’s more important than ever that student journalists are equipped with the necessary skills to shed light on their campuses. Join us in Palo Alto, CA, as we hear from experts including Chris Rufo and the Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium on how you can engage in investigative journalism that will drive meaningful change on your college campus and hold your school’s administrators accountable. All food, travel and lodging expenses will be covered by ISI.


Christopher F. Rufo

Christopher F. Rufo is a senior fellow and director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute. He is also a contributing editor of City Journal, where his writing explores a range of issues, including critical race theory, gender ideology, homelessness, addiction, crime, and the decline of American cities. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, America’s Cultural Revolution, available wherever books are sold.

Rufo is a leader in the fight against critical race theory in American institutions. His research and activism inspired a presidential order and legislation in more than twenty states, where he has worked closely with lawmakers to craft successful public policy. As a filmmaker, Rufo has directed four documentaries for PBS, Netflix, and international television, including America Lost, which tells the story of three “forgotten American cities.”

Rufo holds a BSFS from Georgetown and an ALM from Harvard. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and three sons.

Phil Sechler

Phil Sechler serves as senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on academic and religious freedom.

Before joining ADF, Sechler had a long career in private practice, with substantial first-chair trial experience in courts around the country on a variety of complex litigation matters. Sechler spent most of his career as a partner in the powerhouse law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C. He also was a partner in the litigation boutique of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck & Untereiner LLP.

In August 2013, Sechler took a break from law practice to become a Distinguished Visitor from Practice at Penn State Law School, where he spent four years teaching courses in Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Advocacy. He also taught at the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University and at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he continues to teach a course on Professional Responsibility.

Sechler received his bachelor’s degree with high distinction from Pennsylvania State University, and he earned his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated summa cum laude and was Editor-in-Chief of The Georgetown Law Journal. Following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

Sechler is an active member of the District of Columbia Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal appellate and trial courts.

Patrick Strawbridge

Mr. Strawbridge provides clients with advice and representation at the pre-litigation, trial, and appellate stages. He has represented a broad range of individual and institutional clients on matters of constitutional law, financial and securities regulation, environmental laws, complex commercial disputes, and consumer protection statutes. His experience includes arbitrations, trial and appellate litigation, and administrative and regulatory proceedings.

Mr. Strawbridge served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and Justice Howard Dana of the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine. Previously, Mr. Strawbridge was a partner at two large international law firms. He worked as a newspaper reporter for four years before attending law school. Mr. Strawbridge is an adjunct professor for the Supreme Court Clinic at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.

Mr. Strawbridge earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, and his J.D. summa cum laude from Creighton University School of Law. Mr. Strawbridge is a member of the Maine and Massachusetts bars.

Aaron Sibarium

Aaron Sibarium is a reporter at the Washington Free Beacon where he covers law, education, and institutional capture. He has broken stories on corporate race discrimination, the race-based allocation of COVID drugs, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Princeton University, Harvard University, and Yale Law School. His reporting played a pivotal role in the resignation of former Harvard president Claudine Gay. Aaron previously worked as an editor at the American Interest and earned a B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, magna cum laude, from Yale University.”


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