Teaching investigative skills is a core mission of the Journalism School. All students in the M.S. and M.A. programs learn the tools and methods of investigative journalism. M.S. candidates can also apply to The Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. In addition to the regular M.S. curriculum, Stabile students take investigative reporting classes throughout the school year and are given financial and editorial support to complete ambitious projects.
M.S. and M.A. students are required to take an investigative class in the fall (see Classes below). Those in the M.S. program can also opt to take an investigative seminar in the spring, where students work in groups, each investigating a single topic for 15 weeks. These seminars range from investigating health care to investigating armies and spies, and doing cross-border investigations with data.
In order to graduate with a specialization in investigative journalism, students must apply to the Stabile Center as part of their application for admission to the school.
No student graduates from J-School master's programs without a foundation in investigative journalism. M.A. students take a 15-week M.A. Essentials class that includes the basics of data and investigative reporting. A seven-week Investigative Techniques class focused on using public records and data for reporting is mandatory for M.S. students. In addition, M.S. students can choose from a menu of classes with a strong investigative element.
The following are mandatory investigative reporting classes for master's students:
M.A. Essentials (mandatory for all M.A. students)
Investigative techniques are key to 21st century journalism. Students learn the best ways to comb public records, conduct internet forensics and do thorough background searches on individuals and corporations. They gain an understanding of cutting-edge concepts in data journalism and how to employ them in coverage of their concentrations. Multiple instructors teach sections of this class.
Professors: Justin Elliot, Tom McGinty, Olga Pierce, Chris Weaver
Investigative Techniques for Journalists (mandatory for all M.S. students)
This class aims to ground students in some of the fundamental tools of investigative reporting: How to obtain and analyze public records and data; get information about individuals and groups using a variety of sources; use social media for reporting and verification; and evaluate scholarly literature. Multiple instructors teach sections of this class.
Professors: Robert Faturechi, Kim Kleman, Kristen Lombardi, Tom McGinty, Tom Meagher, Charles Ornstein, Deborah Sontag, Chris Weaver, Tracy weber.
Joanne Faryon and LynNell Hancock's Fall 2019 M.S. Reporting section produced a multipart investigation of the Bronx housing court that looked into the lack of legal resources for tenants and other issues.
For her master's project, Tess Riski, '19 M.S. Stabile, investigated Nurx, an online app that allows women to order birth control pills. After connecting with two Times reporters also looking into the company, her story on the risks of using the “Uber of birth control” was published in The New York Times.