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JRN330 Investigative Reporting

Lead Faculty: Dr. Sara-Ellen L. Amster Ph.D

Course Description

Investigative reporting extends beyond partisan claims and counter- claims to offer verifiable facts that can be found in court documents, state or company reports. Such news stories require collecting enough evidence to allow an editorial judgment to be made about whether what people say is, in fact, true. Students will learn how to select an appropriate investigative topic, narrow the focus of a story from a broad subject to a suitable topic, and to conduct the "shoe-leather reporting" that is needed to discover a story's shape and weight. Students will come up with questions, determine whom they will need to interview, conduct the reporting, and then finish by writing an in-depth piece in several drafts that illuminates the chosen subject.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify what constitutes news.
  • Identify and cultivate news sources.
  • Conduct research for information via phone calls and the Internet.
  • Identify appropriate questions for news sources.
  • Apply skepticism and thoroughness in the reporting process.
  • Identify the key structural elements of a news story.
  • Compose a news story using the inverted pyramid style and nut graph.
  • Recognize the importance of meeting deadlines in beat reporting.
  • Write follow-up or second-day stories.
  • Collaborate with others in the editing process.
  • Report on a beat by following developing events closely and writing about them.