Jan Schaffer is Executive Director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, an incubator for journalism experiments that, over the last 10 years, have created and refined new ways of reporting the news to help engage people better in public life.
The Center, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, works with print and broadcast journalists to build news models that give ordinary people a voice in coverage of their communities and help them identify problems, deliberate solutions and become active civic participants.
Schaffer is the former Business Editor and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she spent 22 years as an editor and reporter.
At the Center, she is involved in funding newsroom experiments, coaching, public speaking and in sharing - through the Center's publications and national workshops for journalists- the lessons learned from more than 120 civic journalism experiments the Center has supported.
Schaffer joined The Inquirer in 1972 after earning a masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. She held a wide range of reporting and editing positions on the city desk, the national desk and the business news department.
As Business Editor, she directed the reporting and editing of two investigative series that were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, one on pharmaceutical pricing and one on abuses in the nation's non-profit sector.
As a federal court reporter, she helped write a series of stories that won freedom for a man wrongly convicted of five murders. The stories led to the civil rights convictions of the Philadelphia homicide detectives involved in the investigation. The articles won several national journalism awards, including the 1978 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service, the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Public Service Award, the Roy W. Howard Medal for Public Service and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel.
Also while covering federal courts, she broke the Philadelphia Abscam story about the FBI sting operation that used agents posing as Arab sheiks. She was sentenced to jail for six months for refusing to reveal her sources; the sentence was stayed on appeal.
Schaffer has been a journalism fellow at Stanford University and has taught journalism courses at Temple University and workshops at the American Press Institute. She is married to a Washington Post editor and has two young children.
The Pew Center for Civic Journalism, created in 1993, was the first journalism-related initiative funded by the Pew Trusts. Since then The Trusts have supported several other journalism-based projects.