Will Work for Impact: Fundamentals of Investigative Journalism (2019)

Course Overview

Will Work for Impact: Fundamentals of Investigative Journalism (2019)
Online Group Seminar
Time Estimate:
The content of this course unfold over four weeks. There are few scheduled meeting times, except for one live session per week, so you'll be able to learn on a schedule that works for you. The minimum time commitment each week is five to seven hours.

About Online Group Seminars

In an online group seminar, you will gather with other participants in a virtual space, logging in from anywhere, day or night, over the course of several weeks. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback.

This archived Online Group Seminar was originally available on:
March 1 to March 31, 2019

This online group seminar will help you build an investigation, from the seed of an idea to a powerful execution.

Investigative reporting can seem daunting. By definition, it involves uncovering a problem someone would prefer to keep secret. It requires critical thinking, persistence, courage, and optimism. It can be lonely work.

The good news is, there’s a roadmap you can follow. Over the course of four weeks, award-winning investigative journalist Alexandra Zayas will break down the process to help you think about what kinds of stories to choose, how to build a bulletproof case, and how to maximize the chance your work will create change.

Week 1, March 4 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern: Choosing the right story, and the right frame, by answering an essential question: What’s the harm?

Week 2, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern: Sniffing the ground and eating the stuff. Creative approaches to reporting beyond public records.

Week 3, March 18 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern: Putting it all together. Using your findings to build a spine, and the narrative gems in your notebook to give your story heart.

Week 4, March 25 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern: Planning for impact. Strategies to help your investigation make a difference.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to pick the right story, by asking the right questions before you start

  • How to get information that isn’t available to the public

  • How to harness the power of human reporting

  • How to build an investigative story around findings to make a powerful case

  • How steps you can take, before and after publication, can help your story make a difference

Who should take this course:

Reporters and editors of any level who want to spend time reading, thinking about and talking about successful investigative journalism, and learn from real-world scenarios to give their own work an edge.

Course Instructor:

Alexandra Zayas

Alexandra Zayas is a senior editor at ProPublica. She spent 12 years at the Tampa Bay Times, ultimately as the newspaper’s enterprise editor. As a reporter, her investigation into abuse at unlicensed religious children’s homes across Florida won the 2013 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. She has served on the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.