Two Southern Virginia University students worked on the major investigation into crime and football that made the cover of Sports Illustrated and the CBS Evening News today.
Senior Jeffrey Gasser was a lead researcher and earned a byline on the magazine's cover story as a special reporter, and junior J.J. Feinauer earned a byline on the feature story published at SI.com. Both students work as interns for Jeff Benedict, who spearheaded the investigation with Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer George Dohrmann and CBS reporter Armen Keteyian.
It's rare for a college student to receive a byline in Sports Illustrated.
"Jeff Gasser showed a remarkable ability to grasp the complexity of the research and reporting for this project and did an outstanding job," Sports Illustrated Executive Editor B.J. Schecter said. "He was an invaluable member of the team and has a bright future ahead of him."
Gasser has been Benedict's personal research assistant for nine months and was tapped to work on the college football and crime story last fall. The job required him to work closely with senior journalists at CBS News like Keteyian, the show's chief investigative correspondent.
"This project would simply have not been possible without the dogged persistence and intellectual curiousity of Jeff Gasser," Keteyian said. "He is just the kind of aspiring young journalist our profession needs."
A special report on the investigation airs tonight on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.
Feinauer became Benedict's personal assistant shortly after the SI-CBS project got underway and is the youngest intern Benedict has hired. "He was a great addition to the project," Benedict said, "and played an integral part in maintaining hundreds of case files."
Feinauer and Gasser are working with Benedict on a book and a television documentary.
To read more of Jeff's work, visit www.jeffbenedict.com.