Investigative Journalism Workshop

A.Y. 2023/2024
3
Max ECTS
20
Overall hours
SSD
SPS/08
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
This workshop aims to deepen awareness and understanding of the essential role of investigative and inquest journalism in the fabric of modern society. It intends to explore the history and evolution of investigative journalism, analyzing its multiple manifestations: from incisive reporting to in-depth investigations, from detailed historical reconstruction to immersive reportage, from the art of interviewing to engaging storytelling. Special attention will be given to various investigative techniques, strategies for sourcing, and critical analysis of information in an era of increasing misinformation. The course will incorporate a variety of media, from traditional written text to more innovative multimedia formats, with a keen eye on international trends in investigative journalism. Through lectures, group discussions, the exchange of personal experiences, and testimonies from industry experts, students will be encouraged to valorize their talents in the context of investigative journalism.
Expected learning outcomes
By actively participating in at least 75% of the lessons and completing two research projects, students are expected to demonstrate the ability to effectively identify and narrate investigative stories of public relevance. They should acquire mastery of the language and specific techniques of investigative journalism, showing resourcefulness and skill in identifying, collecting, and critically analyzing sources. This course aims to provide students with the necessary tools to conduct in-depth investigative research, develop impactful inquiries, and competently navigate the dynamic landscape of contemporary investigative journalism.
Single course

This course can be attended as a single course.

Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
Second trimester
Course syllabus
Investigative journalism plays a crucial societal role, offering an interpretation of events in complete autonomy from any power, including that of major media outlets, which, especially in Italy, are often under the control of owners with industrial, financial, or political interests. This noble goal is achievable only by accessing primary sources, examining documents, interviewing involved parties, and then delving deeper, verifying, analyzing, and drawing conclusions. The journalist, as one can easily understand, operates on a unique standard of judgment: accuracy, ethics, intellectual honesty, and reliability. Thus, a journalist serves as a citizen's professional watchdog, or as termed in Anglo-Saxon countries where this form of journalism originated. This profession differs from reportage journalism in its approach to news and timeframes for realization: while reportage is quick and timely, investigative journalism often requires extended periods due to the need for credibility, completeness, and reliability, which demand lengthy processing times.


YOU ARE PERFECT FOR THIS COURSE IF....
→YOU ARE CURIOUS
Asking questions is essential to unearth sometimes non-obvious aspects.
→YOU ARE LOGICAL, PRECISE, AND ORGANIZED
Analyzing sources with an investigative approach requires time and thorough verification, also to safeguard against potential legal risks. Therefore, it is crucial to plan one's time and be almost obsessive in checking and rechecking facts.
→YOU ARE FLEXIBLE
Investigations may present unforeseen and unpredictable deviations. It's necessary to be ready to redesign research and not be bound to initial beliefs.
- The course is based on a combination of theory and practice, providing students with a foundation of knowledge and skills in investigative and in-depth journalism.
- Students will have access to resources and tools for information research and analysis, such as online databases, access to some editorial offices, field experiences, and interview techniques.



GENERAL PROGRAM LINES:
1. Introduction to Investigative Journalism
- History and fundamental principles of investigative journalism

- Ethics and responsibility in investigative journalism
- The concept of 'news' and how an investigative idea is born
2. Techniques for Researching and Analyzing Information
- Use of online databases and public information sources
- Data analysis and information visualization
- Interview techniques and collection of testimonies
- Relationship with sources: legal and ethical viewpoints
- Fact-checking: tools and players
- Analysis of national and international experiences


3. Writing and Investigative Narration (Analog and Digital)
- Structure and style of investigative reporting
- Use of sources in investigative journalism
- Editing and revision of investigative reports


4. Investigative Journalism in a Digital Context
- Use of digital tools for information research and analysis
- Online investigation and digital tracking
- Ethics and privacy in digital investigative journalism
- Learning to use covert recording and video recording tools
- How to work in the field with these tools (risks and benefits)
Teaching methods
- Lectures to provide theoretical and conceptual foundations of investigative journalism
- Practical exercises to apply the techniques learned in lectures
- Guest speakers from the field of investigative journalism to share experiences and best practices
- Visits to renowned investigative journalism editorial offices to observe fieldwork and interact with expert professionals
Teaching Resources
- Lectures to provide theoretical and conceptual foundations of investigative journalism
- Practical exercises to apply the techniques learned in lectures
- Guest speakers from the field of investigative journalism to share experiences and best practices
- Visits to renowned investigative journalism editorial offices to observe fieldwork and interact with expert professionals
Assessment methods and Criteria
- The Workshop will consist of 7 sessions, each lasting 3 hours
- Attendance of at least 75% of the lessons is required to ensure active participation and complete understanding of the course.
- Students must submit 2 projects (video or written) for the successful completion of the workshop and to earn credits. The evaluation will be pass/fail: the first project will focus on "how to present an investigative project to one's supervisor".
The second project must contain a mini investigative reportage on a topic of their choice. This will allow them to apply the skills acquired during the course and demonstrate their ability to conduct a journalistic investigation and present it effectively.
The investigative journalism course offers a unique opportunity for students to acquire advanced skills in the field of journalistic investigation and prepare for a career in investigative journalism.
SPS/08 - SOCIOLOGY OF CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION - University credits: 3
Laboratories: 20 hours
Professor: Politi Alessandro