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Investigative Journalism MA/Diploma

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  • Objectives
    This innovative new course aims to provide students with essential journalistic skills and the rigorous, in-depth and advanced research and investigation skills required to produce original, exclusive and revelatory stories.
  • Academic Title
    Investigative Journalism MA/Diploma
  • Course description
    This pioneering new course, offered by City's internationally-renowned Journalism & Publishing department:

        * provides students with the essential skills for a first job in print or broadcast journalism, together with innovative and in-depth research and investigation techniques
        * teaches advanced research skills including computer-assisted reporting, the effective use of public records and databases, the Freedom of Information Act, and other complex information; and examines undercover and covert investigative techniques
        * provides knowledge of case studies of high-profile investigations and the skills to investigate issues of public concern, miscarriages of justice, and companies, organisations and individuals within an ethical framework
        * offers students the opportunity to complete a real-life investigation aimed for publication or broadcast
        * is taught by leading investigative journalists, including: David Leigh, investigations editor of The Guardian and Anthony Sampson Professor of Reporting at City; Gavin MacFadyen, director of the prestigious Centre for Investigative Journalism based at City; Heather Brooke, Freedom of Information expert and Honorary Visiting Fellow at City; Rosie Waterhouse, formerly of the Sunday Times Insight team and Newsnight, and; Melanie McFadyean, City lecturer and freelance journalist
        * is located in central London, giving students unrivalled access to the media industry for contacts and work placements

    Course overview

    Investigative journalism is one of the most demanding areas of journalism, but also one with a growing body of specialist techniques and practitioners. Students will learn from case studies of complex and high profile investigations and acquire techniques of investigative reporting, such that they can plan, research and write an investigative feature of public concern or in the public interest.

    Topics will range from business and financial journalism and investigations into individuals, organisations and corporations to miscarriages of justice. All students will also be taught the basic essential skills required by the media industry such as producing news and feature material, interviewing, production, law, structure of government and ethics.

    Employment opportunities

    This course aims to prepare for a first job in any form of journalism, including newspapers, magazines and the broadcast media. They will be especially valued in jobs which require rigorous, in-depth and advanced research and investigative skills.

    Work placements

    Work placements are invaluable opportunities to gain experience, practise newly-acquired skills, and make contacts.


    -Diploma: nine months full time
    -MA: one year full time


    The course is made up of seven compulsory modules, plus the Capstone Project.

    Investigative Reporting 1 (20 credits)

    This module aims to provide students with a framework for undertaking an investigation, and with the basic methodologies and practical contexts of investigative
    reporting, such that they can plan an investigation. Students will learn investigative technologies and investigative techniques such as FoI requests, they will develop a critical awareness of the ethical issues involved with investigations, they will look case studies, and they will choose an area to investigate.

    Investigative Reporting 2 (20 credits)

    This module aims to build on students’ understanding of the framework for planning, researching and writing or filming an investigation. The advanced investigative research skills gained will be valuable assets for students and enhance their employment prospects in all forms of journalism, including business and financial journalism. Topics will range from investigations into individuals, corporations and organisations to miscarriages of justice.

    Journalism Practice (30 credits)

    This module will equip students with sufficient journalistic skills to work effectively in the print or broadcast industry. By the time they finish this module, students should have reached a standard high enough to allow them not only to carry out their journalistic duties with technical and professional fluidity, but enabling them to reflect on the nature of their work and its impact on a variety of audiences. They will be able to spot a story, angle it, research and write it at speed and to a deadline for a print publication or broadcast outlet.

    Journalism and Society (10 credits)

    This module aims to highlight the importance of cultural and political context in the conduct of journalism. It promotes a critical awareness of the range of cultural/political milieu in which journalists in Britain work, and reveals how concepts such as censorship, news management and propaganda affect journalism.
    It is also designed to enable students to exchange their own experience, knowledge and culturally-informed viewpoints.

    Media Law (15 credits)

    This module provides the crucial legal theory students require for effective work as journalists. It aims to develop in students a detailed understanding of the law in the UK as it affects journalists. Lectures cover the English legal system, defamation and slander, contempt of court, reporting restrictions, relevant Acts and other legislation affecting the work of journalists.

    Structure of Government (15 credits)

    The module gives students a basic knowledge of government structures (at local, national and European levels) as they relate to the work of a journalist. It aims to  introduce students to contemporary political science perspectives on British government, provide them with an understanding of the key issues in government today relating to journalists, and provide them with a comprehensive understanding of how elections are organised and reported.

    Editorial Production (10 credits)

    This module will vary according to the Journalism pathway students are following (from Broadcast, Magazine and Television Current Affairs Journalism).

    Capstone Project (60 credits)

    The capstone project is intended to offer a more flexible and practical alternative to the traditional dissertation as the final stage of the MA. It brings together the knowledge and skills acquired by students in a final work that is of professional quality, and that is relevant and significant to media professionals in the students chosen area.

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