Investigative journalism is the most highly-regarded branch of the profession, often helping reveal corruption, shining a light on social plights, influencing public policy and triggering change. It takes time and effort, but also an understanding of the basic concepts and tools used to carry out investigations.
To help people interested in learning about the newest resources and techniques in the field, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas will offer the free Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) “Investigative Journalism for the Digital Age” with the support of the Knight Foundation.
The course will take place from May 12 to June 15, 2014. Click here to register.
The five-week course in English will be the Knight Center’s tenth MOOC since launching its massive courses program in October 2012. Just like all of the Knight Center’s previous MOOCs, the course is mainly directed toward journalists but will be open to anyone in the world with an internet connection. No prior experience with the concepts or tools is required.
“We at the Knight Center are happy to launch our first massive online course on investigative journalism. In the last decade we have worked a lot with investigative journalism in the Americas, but with this MOOC we have the opportunity to extend the training to many places around the world,” said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. “We are grateful to the instructors, who are among the best investigative journalists in the United States, and to Knight Foundation for their support to this project.”
“Investigative Journalism for the Digital Age” will follow the popular multiple-instructor format pioneered by the Knight Center’s MOOC program. Each week of the course will be taught by a different instructor, each one a leading authority in the field of investigative journalism. The instructors and the topics they will cover are:
- Week 1: The basic steps in doing an investigative story: Brant Houston, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Week 2: The people trail. Mike Berens, Seattle Times.
- Week 3: The data trail. Steve Doig, Arizona State University.
- Week 4: The document tail. Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle.
- Week 5: Presenting the investigative story. Brant Houston.
“This is a great opportunity for people from around the world to learn the basics of investigative reporting, no matter what level of experience or skills you have now,” instructor Brant Houston said. “We will cover from start to finish, how to conceive and carry out an investigative story.”
This introductory course will teach students general concepts about conducting journalistic investigations, examples of small and large investigative stories, navigating through institutional structures to find sources, cultivating sources, finding databases and documents, analyzing and visualizing data, using information found on social media, and general considerations about presenting the story, ethics and fairness.
The course will include videos, tutorials, reading materials, exercises and quizzes. Just like the Knight Center’s other MOOCs, the course will be divided in weekly modules and will be completely asynchronous, meaning there will be no live lectures. Even though students can take the course at the times of their choosing, each weekly module will have deadlines for submitting the quizzes and participating in the forums.
As opposed to the Knight Center’s regular online courses, there will be no application or selection process. Anyone can sign up online and, once registered, participants will receive instructions on how to enroll in the course. Enrollees will have immediate access to the syllabus, introductory information and a video from the instructor explaining how the MOOC will work.
Although the course will be free, if participants need to receive a certificate, there will be a $30 administrative fee, paid online via credit card, for those who meet the certificate requirements. The certificate will be issued only to students who actively participated in the course and who complied with most of the course requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. The certificates will be sent via email as a PDF document. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate.
A MOOC is a new type of online learning program that was designed to reach a large number of students. In general, most MOOCs are college courses that have been recorded on video and adapted to be shared over the Internet.
The Knight Center became a pioneer in massive journalism online education when it launched its MOOC program in October 2012. Since then, the Knight Center has offered nine courses and reached more than 32,000 participants in around 150 countries. Unlike most MOOCs, the Knight Center’s massive courses are created specifically for this program and seek to encourage the largest amount of student-to-student and instructor-to-students interactions as possible.
About Knight Foundation:
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
About the Knight Center:
The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Alves, who holds the Knight Chair in Journalism and the UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism. Launched with major, multi-year grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center also has received grants from Open Society Foundations and other donors. The Knight Center also has been sustained with support from the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication, modest foundation grants and the public.