Course Details


On Demand






On Demand


Investigative reporting in the digital age

This self-directed course page features course content from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas‘ massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Investigative reporting in the digital age.” The four-week course took place from February 3 to March 1, 2020. We are now making the content free and available to students who took the course and anyone else who’s interested in investigative reporting and data journalism basics, including experienced investigators who seek to deepen their skills on complex investigations, collaborations and data journalism.

The course was taught by a great team of instructors: Lise Olsen, Alejandra Xanic, Lee Zurik, Denise Malan.

 The course materials are broken up into seven modules:

  • Intro Module: Introduction to the course and the outline of topics
  • Module 1: Investigative Reporting – from your first idea to highly complex probes
  • Module 2: Transforming an idea into an investigative plan of action – solo or as part of a collaboration
  • Module 3: Investigating on video – from mastering the confrontational interview to tapping your audience for help
  • Module 4: The latest data journalism and dataviz tools to deepen your investigative work

As you review this resource page, we encourage you to watch the videos, review the readings, and complete the exercises as time allows. The course materials build off each other, but the videos and readings also act as standalone resources that you can return to over time.

We hope you enjoy the materials. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Lise Olsen

Lise Olsen is a senior reporter & editor at the Texas Observer magazine and previously worked as deputy investigations editor at The Houston Chronicle.  Lise has investigated many twisted Texas tales, including crooked judges, an unjust execution, massive environmental disasters, myriad cases of corporate and public corruption, and unsolved serial killings. Her reports over 20 years in three states have contributed to the prosecutions of a former congressman and a federal judge, inspired laws and reforms, helped solve cold cases, restored names to unidentified murder victims and freed dozens of wrongfully-held prisoners. Her work is featured in two documentaries, CNN’s “The Wrong Man” (2015) about the innocence claims of executed offender Ruben Cantu and the six-part A & E series on the victims of a 1970s serial killer, “The Eleven,” (2017). She has three times been named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas APME. In 2019, she was part of the investigative team that broke the story of how hundreds of Southern Baptists with formal church roles—pastors, deacons, youth pastors—had engaged in sexual misconduct, leaving behind more than 700 victims. A former staff and board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Lise speaks Spanish and French, has lived in Mexico and France and has taught workshops throughout the Americas. Her email is and Twitter handle is @lisedigger.


AlejAlejandra Xanic: Xanic, as she’s known to her colleagues, is an investigative reporter and more recently, editor and co-founder of Quinto Elemento Lab, a nonprofit organization in Mexico that teams-up with reporters in order to mentor, produce and disseminate their investigative projects ( Xanic has worked on stories about AIDS and migration, the lives of the deaf, drug trafficking, corruption and impunity for media such as Siglo 21, Publico, Cambio and Expansión. Xanic worked with The New York Times reporter David Barstow in an investigation that revealed Wal-mart´s systematic use of bribes to fuel its growth in Mexico. She also collaborated with Ginger Thompson (ProPublica) in her investigation into the massacre in the town of Allende that followed a leak of information by the DEA. Xanic has developed an expertise in using Mexico’s Transparency laws and is an active trainer of fellow reporters around the country. She can be reached at and her Twitter handle is @xanic.




Lee Zurik

Lee Zurik‘s hard-hitting investigations continue to effect change and garner respect. Lee’s work has been recognized with journalism’s top awards. In total, two Peabody Awards, three Columbia-duPont Silver Batons, 11 National Edward R. Murrow Awards, the IRE Medal, five IRE Certificates, and 12 Sigma Delta Chi Awards. Lee is currently the evening news anchor and chief investigative reporter at WVUE-TV in New Orleans. In addition, he also serves as director of investigations for Gray Television. In that role, Lee oversees Gray’s National Investigative Unit and its new OTT App – InvestigateTV. Lee is a proud member of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and was recently re- elected vice president of the organization’s board of directors. He can be reached at and her Twitter handle is @LeeZurik.