Investigative Journalism

Investigative Journalism

Information is the oxygen of democracy. If people do not know what is happening in their society, if the actions of those who rule them are hidden, then they cannot take a meaningful part in the affairs of that society. But information is not just a necessity for people – it is an essential part of good government.

Investigative Journalism exposes abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government, business, and other institutions, using moral force of truth to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.

This course strengthens your capacity to identify and research issues of governance, accountability, corruption, and misuse of power, and to structure powerful stories in fresh and engaging ways. At RNTC you will hone your skills as an investigative journalist in a story-based approach with proven success.

World-renowned and award-winning investigative journalists are your trainers in this three-week intensive course focusing on building and refining your own investigations.

This is a 3-week course.

This course takes place at the RNTC training centre and studios in Hilversum, which is about 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station.

Academic Year: 2019 - 2020

Course fee: 3655.00 Euro
All-in-fee: 5500.00 Euro


  • The investigative journalism course teaches you the essential methods required to research, cross-check, and structure information to reveal authentic scoops.
  • Learn by doing to present in-depth stories on important issues using unique media formats to increase impact and raise public awareness.
  • RNTC’s expert tutors help you understand a journalist’s role in maintaining good governance and democratic principles, thus creating a better future.
  • You will learn how to protect your data and stay safe online as well as build your emotional and mental resiliency.
  • Explore how to implement investigative journalism in small newsrooms.
  • You will learn how to translate your scoop into a story that appeals to your audience.


For more information 

Course dates

Monday, May 13, 2019 - 09:00 to Friday, May 31, 2019 - 17:00
Monday, November 4, 2019 - 09:00 to Friday, November 22, 2019 - 17:00



Why take this course

This hands-on course in investigative journalism will inspire you with real-life investigations, instill confidence in you to dig deeper, and help you structure and time your revelations to hit hard at practices which have previously gone unreported.

The course is for experienced broadcast, print, and/or online journalists and reporters who are keen to increase their knowledge of practical investigative journalism methods and techniques to uncover and tell original stories that may change societies.

The course includes tools for best practices, practical knowledge and application and long-lasting skills to push your abilities to the next level.

Course outline

Week 1:

The first week includes several small group interactive sessions and workshops to ensure that you learn by doing investigative journalism. It includes:

Know your target audience module:

  • Where do ideas come from?
  • How to zero in on an audience
  • Mapping your target audience
  • Influencers, agreed realities, and emotional payoffs
  • Using mapping to discover target audiences
  • Using social media for insights
  • Developing target audience statements
  • Pitching target audiences

Persuade your target audience module:

  • What is learning and why this is important to understanding audiences
  • How do people learn? Information, skills, and behaviours
  • The ingredients of persuasive aims
  • Why you need different credible sources
  • Why you should craft emotional appeals
  • The benefits of formulating a logical approach
  • Investigating examples – persuading target audiences
  • Applying persuasion to your own context

Storytelling for media professionals module:

  • Narrative journalism versus information journalism
  • The eight essential elements of story
  • Symbols and universal truths
  • Studying real examples illustrating the eight essential elements of story
  • Story detective sessions: develop your own story
  • The micro story: story in a tweet
  • Create characters to engage audiences
  • The importance of character: identifying people like us
  • The types and tropes of drama characters
  • Character histories and how to craft them
  • Hero journeys and creating powerful character growth

Creative formats to engage audiences module:

  • How do we tell stories using media?
  • Ten engaging formats and what makes them unique
  • Which formats are good for conveying information versus conveying emotions?
  • Types of formats and the ideas box
  • Combining ideas creatively
  • The 3 act structure and the 5 act structure
  • Investigating formats: interviewing
  • Investigating formats: the discussion
  • Practice: engaging audiences with the discussion format

Participants will further:

  • Receive training in basic audio using zoom recorders and popular audio editing software for radio or podcasting.
  • Practice “interviewing for storytelling and Investigation.”
  • Analyse successful investigations from and with our guest speakers, who are themselves experienced, award-winning investigative journalists.


Week 2:

In the second week we practise using in-depth skills like:

  • Core tools for investigations: hypotheses, timelines, and source maps
  • Structuring your story’s “Masterfile”
  • Learning-by-doing: you will combine all learned techniques to prepare an in-depth core project for further investigation back home on the subject of governance, accountability, corruption, and misuse of power

Group critiques will ensure your final project is clear, concise, and will achieve maximum impact.


Week 3:

From 2017 on, this is a 3-week course. In the third week participants will further work on their in-depth core project on the subject of governance, accountability and corruption.

Dates and deadlines

Course dates: 13 May - 31 May 2019 OKP & MSP scholarship application window: closed

Course dates: 4 November - 22 November 2019 OKP & MSP scholarship application window: 7 February - 14 March 2019

Admission requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • You are currently working as a journalist and have a minimum of three years' experience in or for a media organisation.
  • You are able to provide the original proof (or a properly certified copy) of your most recent educational qualification in secondary or higher education.
  • You have sufficient skills in spoken and written English as this is the working language for our courses.  

After you have completed all the course sessions and assignments, you will receive an RNTC certificate and join the ranks of our more than 5,500 RNTC alumni worldwide.


You may qualify for a scholarship for an RNTC course. The most commonly awarded scholarships for our courses are the OKP and MSP (MENA) scholarships. OKP fellowships are available for 52 countries and MSP scholarships for 10 countries. For more information, please visit our scholarships page.