Universities and Investigative Reporting

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Teaching IJAttendees at the session Approaches in Teaching Investigative Reporting at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference heard about Chinese student investigations and also called for more courses on investigative reporting in general.

The session was part of a track of academic panels in which professors presented and discussed papers and studies on investigative reporting. This panel, which had nearly 60 attendees, was moderated by Professor Ying Chan, director of the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre.

Dr. Wang Shiyu, a professor at Beijing Foreign Language Studies University, presented his study on student investigations done in China under the guidance of a professor. Among the examples of outstanding work of the students in his report on investigations were stories on the sale of fake certificates near campus and on protests of migrant workers for unpaid wages.

Mark Lee Hunter, Adjunct Professor of France’s INSEAD, also was on the panel and said it is important to introduce university curricula for investigative journalism.

“There are lots of people who want to find the truth, and there aren’t many who are digging into the truth,” Hunter said. A good curriculum, he added, should include the evaluation of sources, the planning of stories, story-telling skills and development of entrepreneurial skills. He said entrepreneurialism means a skill-set of asset creation, business model development, and networking.

“Fifty percent of journalism students do not get jobs after graduation, it is the same with almost all universities in Europe,” Hunter said. “That’s why we need to teach them on how to create start-ups.”

Hunter called for establishment of a scholarly journal that concentrates on investigative journalism.

“Investigative Reporting is not the cherry on the cake,” he said. “It’s the cake.”

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