2024 - Fall

Elective Reporting Topics: Investigative Reporting

Course Number: JOUR-UA 204.005

Day & Time: Thu | 6:20 PM – 10:00 PM

Location: 20 Cooper Square, Room 652

Instructor: Joe Calderone

Prerequisites:  Journalistic Inquiry: The Written Word (JOUR-UA 101)

Whichever media platform is your preferred home – radio, broadcast TV, video, social or
print – a knowledge of how to ‘go deep’ on a story will make you better at whatever you
do and more valuable wherever you decide to practice the craft of journalism.
This course will seek to give you some of the skills necessary to produce exclusive, hard-
edged, original, ground-breaking reporting that matters. (Students must have successfully
completed the basic Inquiry reporting course as a prerequisite to take this class, unless
that requirement is waived by the instructor.)
The emphasis in this class will be on fieldwork, combining human sources with first-
hand, document-based reporting that results in a story that adheres to the high standards
of responsible investigative reporting.

You will learn how to mine the records of courthouses, law enforcement agencies,
property clerks, health agencies, City Hall, campaign finance boards, tax authorities,
corporate filings and other municipal, nonprofit and government oversight agencies for
exclusive content.
The goal is to work (likely in a team setting) to produce a hard-hitting package of stories
story that is based on your own, original reporting and that sheds a light on a little-known
or little understood topic with important implications for the public. The story should
seek to break new ground. It should not simply rehash what has already been written by
others on a subject.
Not all “exclusives” or “investigative reports” are worthy of the label. When done
properly, there is arguably no higher calling in journalism than a solid piece of
investigative reporting that exposes a wrong and seeks to prompt action to correct the
problem. When done poorly, there are few other forms of journalism that can, in quick
measure, unfairly damage the reputation of a person or an institution. Again, this course
will seek to draw distinctions between the good, the bad, the sloppy and the lazy.
We will aim high by selecting topics that matter, recognizing that you are limited by the
length of the semester and your other academic commitments.

Notes: Counts as an elective for the journalism major and both journalism minors.

Questions? Email undergraduate.journalism@nyu.edu.

Students enrolled in this course may need to obtain special audio-visual equipment which requires that they purchase insurance. For more information, please review the Undergraduate Multimedia Equipment Guide.