Investigative Journalism

Focusing on governance, accountability, democracy and human rights

Investigative Journalism

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.

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 2017 - 2018:
Course fee: 2,850 Euro
All-in-fee: 4,950 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.

Course dates

Monday, March 5, 2018 - 09:00 to Friday, March 23, 2018 - 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.

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:

  • 5 March - 23 March 2018

Scholarship application deadline:

  • None currently available
Admission requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • You are currently working as a journalist and have a minimum of one year’s 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 4,000 RNTC alumni worldwide.


You may qualify for a scholarship for an RNTC course. The most commonly used scholarships for our courses are the OKP (formerly known as NFP) and MSP (MENA) scholarships.

OKP stands for 'Orange Knowledge Programme', and MSP stands for 'MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Scholarship Programme'.

OKP scholarships are available for 28 countries, MSP scholarships for 10 countries. For more information visit our scholarships page.