Learn how to be an investigative journalist, for free

Knight Foundation logoHave you ever wanted to learn about investigative journalism but felt you didn’t have the money or enough flexibility in your schedule to do it?

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas knows the feeling.

That’s why the center intends to offer a five-week open online training course covering the nuts and bolts of investigative journalism, for free.

Yes. Free.

The course, “Investigative Journalism for the Digital Age,” begins Monday, May 12, and concludes June 14. Among the planned topics are general concepts about conducting investigations, finding and cultivating sources, analyzing digital data and databases, sifting through social media for useful information, and presenting stories with attention to fairness and ethics.

Four instructors will present multiple videos edited in a college-style classroom format. The instructors are Brant Houston, who teaches investigative journalism and advanced reporting at the University of Illinois; Michael Berens, an investigative reporter for the Seattle Times and winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting; Steve Doig, data journalism specialist at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism; and Lise Olson, senior investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle.

Each week’s work can be completed at the student’s own pace; however, quizzes will be given at the conclusion of each instruction module. Students can request a certificate of completion at the course’s conclusion for a small fee.

The lessons are not just convenient; they’re essential.

“These days, if you don’t know how to tap the Internet, explore the World Wide Web, explore Facebook, use Twitter, use all sorts of social media and search tools, you’re basically illiterate as an investigative reporter,” Olson says in a video that introduces the course.

Anyone who is interested should register now at the Knight Center’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) site. The center is supported by the Knight Foundation.

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David Sheets is a freelance writer and editor, Region 7 director, and past-president of SPJ’s St. Louis Pro chapter. Reach him by e-mail at dksheets@gmail.com, on Twitter at @DKSheets, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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  • Valentine Bonnaire

    Darn it I missed it! Will this happen again I hope? Very interested in taking this course.

  • Valentine Bonnaire

    This is fantastic. You even mentioned Cronkite.


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