2020 – Fall
Course Number: JOUR-GA 1250.001
Day & Time: Tuesday, 7:00pm-10:00pm [Online]
Instructor: Melanie Hicken
Your objective will be to master basic investigative tools and techniques, as well as how to apply them to everyday reporting and major enterprise pieces. We will explore how to take advantage of the two main sources of information documents and people and discuss when and how to use computer data to both enhance a story or provide the foundation for a major project. Throughout the course, the goal will be to constantly delve beneath the surface. Going deep is the essence of investigative reporting, which pulls together all publicly available information, as well as harder-to-find material, to present the fullest possible picture. Corporations and powerful individuals employ armies of PR experts, lawyers and lobbyists to ensure that only their version of reality prevails, and it is the lonely duty of journalists to dispel this fog of self-interest. At least as important as mastering the technical skills will be learning to think critically and skeptically. The relentlessly upbeat press release, the carefully worded SEC filing or the late-Friday-afternoon earnings statement each, as a matter of course, should be probed for accuracy and omission. What important development went unsaid? Did the company chairman really resign to “spend more time with his family”?