There are some qualities of the investigative journalist that can't be taught, such as persistence, determination and a willingness to hold the powerful to account. This course will give you a working knowledge of everything else.
An enviable braintrust of seven expert journalists – including the Guardian's former investigations executive editor David Leigh and BBC internet research guru Paul Myers – will demonstrate the quantity and quality of information available to tenacious researchers, and how to find it. As well as getting a crash course in expert tools and techniques for in-depth internet research, you'll learn how to use social media to conduct open investigations, how to cultivate and interview contacts even in extreme conditions, and how to make freedom of information requests in the UK and abroad. The course is curated by Paul Lewis, the Guardian's former special projects editor (and current Washington Correspondent) who has taught modern investigative journalism skills across Europe
Although the course is primarily aimed at those looking to improve or expand their journalistic toolkit, these skills are also of use to campaigners, activists, lawyers, charities and anyone else with an interest in asking awkward questions of authority.
This intensive weekend course mixes practical exercises with classroom instruction and keynote seminars. It's an ideal primer for anyone interested in learning to cultivate sources, utilise freedom of information legislation, use the internet for deep research, crowdsource stories through social media, or working within UK libel law. Tutors appearing over the weekend, and their specialist subjects, include:
Paul Lewis – Cutting through spin and cultivating sources / Social media and the new art of investigating in the open
Paul Myers – Secrets tools for using the internet for in-depth research
Nadene Ghouri – Interviewing under fire: How to make contacts, and get them to speak in difficult circumstances
Helen Darbishire – Unlocking freedom of information laws in Britain and abroad
Meirion Jones – How to unearth stories - and prove them on television
David Leigh – Combatting the enemies of journalism
This course is for you if...
- You're a news or features journalist looking to upgrade your skills
- You're a blogger wanting to improve your own content or break into mainstream journalism
- You're an activist or charity worker with a desire to develop more focused, in-depth campaigns with greater impact
- You're a student who wants to improve your research skills
- You're a lawyer working within the media, human rights, social affairs or charitable sectors
- You work for a regulatory body and want to conduct better investigations
Paul Lewis is the Washington DC Correspondent for the Guardian. He has won ten major journalism prizes, and was most recently awarded the prestigious European Press Prize in 2013. He is the co-author of Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police and has presented TV documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4 and Al-Jazeera. In his previous role as the Guardian's special projects editor, Paul ran high-profile investigations and led Reading the Riots, the landmark research study into the causes and consequences of the England riots of 2011.
Paul Myers became a news information researcher in 1995, and has been involved in journalism training since 1999. Blending his previous career as a computer operator with the world of journalism, Paul pioneered many of the online research techniques that are now commonplace, and continues to develop new strategies for the changing digital landscape. Paul works closely with investigative, current affairs, news and consumer programmes on TV and radio, as well as doing training, consultancy and web design. Paul also runs the Research Clinic website which contains his tools, links and study material.
David Leigh was assistant editor at The Guardian, with special responsibility for investigations. He has won seven press awards, including Granada's Investigative Journalist of the Year, the British Press Awards Campaigning Journalist of the Year, and the 2007 Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism. In 2006 he was Highly Commended for investigations into alleged corruption at BAE Systems. His books include The Liar (an account of the Jonathan Aitken affair), Sleaze (the story of the Neil Hamilton case), and Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy.
Helen Darbishire is founder and executive director of the Madrid-based NGO Access Info Europe, established in 2006 to promote the right of access to information in Europe and globally. Helen has worked for over 20 years as a human rights professional, focusing on issues of freedom of expression and information, media freedom and civil society development. Helen has provided expertise to a wide range of non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations, including UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the World Bank. She is a founder of the global Freedom of Information Advocates Network and served two terms as its chair (2004-2010).
Nadene Ghouri is an award-winning journalist, writer and presenter. She is a regular voice on BBC Radio 4's current affairs programmes, and also writes global investigations for the Mail on Sunday's Live magazine. Previously employed as news editor of the Big Issue and social affairs correspondent for the Times Educational Supplement, Nadene moved into broadcasting as a reporter for BBC Radio 5 Live and, later, Al Jazeera English. She has reported from conflicts in countries including Afghanistan, Iran, DR Congo, Liberia, India, Gaza and Pakistan. Nadene has been twice shortlisted for Journalist of the Year at the One World Media Awards and nominated twice for an Amnesty International Human Rights Media award.
When & Where
Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.
Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.
Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.
The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.