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Free course 'Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age' is now available online

A total 3,877 students from 147 countries and territories registered for the instructor-led version of the Knight Center course, “Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age,” which ran from Feb. 3 to March 1, 2020.

"I was excited to see more than 3,500 investigative reporters from around the world sharing experiences and learning from each other in this course,” instructor Lise Olsen told the Knight Center. “Members of the investigative reporting in the digital age community have continued to share resources, interview mistakes (and lessons learned) and engage actively with the tools and strategies offered by our investigative reporter instructors.”

As a result of that continued engagement, Olsen said the instructors created more videos to explore issues and questions posed by active participants.

The four-week MOOC, sponsored by the Knight Foundation, was taught by four expert journalists with experience in cross-border and multimedia investigations. They were Lise Olsen, investigative reporter and editor at The Texas Observer; Alejandra Xanic, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and co-founder of Quinto Elemento Lab in Mexico City; Lee Zurik, Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist at Fox TV in New Orleans; and Denise Malan, senior training director for Investigative Reporters & Editors and data journalist.

Course material covered an introduction to investigative reporting itself, plans of action for individual and collaborative work, video investigations and crowdsourcing, and data journalism and visualization.

The self-directed version of the MOOC (massive open online course) is now available online.

Participant Mikaela Rodenbaugh, audience data and research strategist for the journalism innovation lab for Gannett, based in Austin, Texas, saw the course as an opportunity for professional development.

“It has been useful to better understand the mechanisms and strategies used for investigative reporting projects,” she told the Knight Center.

For Rodrigo Lois, TV producer and web reporter for GLOBO in Brazil, the course was a chance to gain new skills, like how to structure a project and elaborate a hypothesis before the start of an investigation.

“It also showed me how to think more about collaborative journalism in our times,” he told the Knight Center.

Beyond new skills, the course allowed for interaction with colleagues in his region.

“It was also interesting to get in touch with other journalists from Latin America, to understand what they are going through in each country, their difficulties and goals,” said Lois, who previously took three other courses through the Knight Center.

“I’m using the knowledge I’ve gained in the course on a special project about an investigation over the investments made by Brazilian governments during the preparation and organization of the 2014 World Cup,” the journalist said.

Those interested in improving their investigative reporting abilities can now access the self-directed version of the course, which features video classes, readings and optional resources specially curated by the instructors of the course. However, they will not have access to discussion forums, which are a unique feature of the instructor-led courses.

"We are happy this course brought together so many investigative journalists from around the world,” said Mallary Tenore, Knight Center associate director. “Together, they formed a community of support and learned from one another and their instructors. The self-directed version will further expand the knowledge shared in this course, and will be an ongoing resource for media professionals who want to strengthen their investigative journalism skills.”

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