Investigative Reporting in Print, Broadcast and the Web
Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
This seminar is an introduction to tricks of the trade, occupational hazards, sources and guides to help navigate the field of watchdog reporting.
Taught by Prof. Lowell Bergman, the class is both an introduction to the theory and practice of investigative reporting as well as an opportunity for students to gain practical experience working collaboratively on major, in-depth reporting projects. That opportunity is provided primarily by the ongoing projects at the IRP, notably documentaries with PBS Frontline and other broadcast and print outlets. The seminar will expose students to potential sources and practitioners of the craft as well as to discussions and debate on exactly what we mean by “investigative reporting.” Last year, students met a wide variety of valuable sources: a judge, a hedge fund manager, a District Attorney, senior FBI and DEA agents, informants, private detectives, and libel lawyers. Some of the nation’s top investigative journalists also stopped by the seminar. Historically, the program has emphasized producing news on all platforms using a collaborative model.
Second and third year students are also encouraged to develop a Masters Project that is in-depth and investigative in nature. As part of this effort, we are encouraging all of our students to find one or more “mentors” among our experienced staff and investigative reporting fellows. Credit is on a sliding scale, depending on the student’s level of involvement in class and in the various projects.
The only way to learn investigative reporting is to do it. But doing it is always more productive if you have a guide.
—Lowell Bergman, Frontline Producer and Correspondent