MA Investigative Journalism

Overview

This course is the result of a unique collaboration between DMU and one of the country’s most respected broadcasters, Channel 4. It will equip you with the specialist skills and knowledge for a successful career in investigative video journalism.

Designed by industry experts, the course addresses skills such as in-depth research, handling complex data, understanding financial information, and working undercover. After a thorough grounding in media law, regulation and ethics, you will receive tuition in various investigative techniques, including using the Freedom of Information Act, data journalism and financial journalism.

You will also be taught how to use specialist camera equipment, and how to plan, shoot and edit your own material with a view to making industry-standard, broadcast-quality journalistic films. This is supplemented by a survey of the academic study of journalism, all of which is intended to help you flourish as a practitioner.

The connection with Channel 4 helps the course tutors identify potential work experience placements, and professional mentors for students.

Recent graduates have gone to work as directors, presenters, reporters and researchers with national and international news and current affairs broadcasters, including the BBC and Channel 4.

Key features

  • Study for an MA that has been endorsed by and developed in collaboration with Channel 4. This means that you will receive industry-standard teaching from expert academics and professional journalists.
  • Specialise by studying a course that is solely aimed at producing investigative video journalists.
  • Experience a wide range of teaching styles and environments, from traditional lectures and seminars to intensive skills workshops, news days and studio work.
  • Choose to independently produce a piece of investigative journalism suitable for broadcast by one of the mainstream outlets as part of your final semester project.
  • Benefit from our academics’ extensive experience as journalists, filmmakers, media consultants and producers to develop the skills you need to launch your career.
  • Study on a course that is suitable for both established professionals and graduates wanting to break into the field.

Structure and assessment

Course modules

Investigative Journalism Skills and Theories
introduces you to the core themes that underpin the knowledge you need to be an effective investigative journalist. You will study the range of law that affects journalists, including libel, copyright, contempt, privacy and confidentiality, freedom of information and data protection.

Introduction to Practical Investigative Journalism
introduces you to the wide range of skills needed to become an effective investigative journalist. The module combines practical, equipment-based training with a wider focus on core investigative skills.

Investigative Journalism Global Perspectives
builds on the basic theoretical frameworks of earlier modules and applies them to the in-depth study of significant investigations. You will learn how to deal with complex data in investigations and attend talks from visiting speakers on how video investigative journalism is done in other countries around the world.

Advanced Practical Investigative Journalism
pulls together the skills and competencies you have developed throughout the programme. You will undertake advanced work with editing, production and dealing with specialist equipment to produce journalist pieces. Industry experts will be on hand to make sure you understand the current markets for your work and how to pitch and complete ideas.

Final Project
You have a choice of options for your final project. It is expected that you will independently produce a piece of investigative journalism suitable for broadcast by one of the mainstream outlets. However, you can also choose to write a 15,000 word dissertation in lieu of this.

 

Teaching and assessments

You will experience a wide range of teaching styles and environments, from traditional lectures and seminars to intensive skills workshops, news days and studio work. As a postgraduate student, you will be increasingly responsible for developing your own professional practice  and working with other course members to produce pieces of journalism.

You will be working collaboratively with undergraduate students and other postgraduate students from our portfolio of related journalism courses including on events.

This is an intensive programme and you should be aware that full-time engagement will be expected throughout.

There will be a diverse range of assessments, including traditional essays, presentations, case studies and reports, as well as continuous assessment of professional practice. These culminate in your final project or dissertation.

Contact and learning hours

You will normally attend at least 12 hours of timetabled taught sessions per week. As part of this, you will be expected to produce substantial amounts of journalism outside of class.

 

Academic expertise

Pervez Khan

Pervez Khan is a senior Producer/Director and Series Producer across both film and TV documentary. His portfolio of work stretches over 17 years and includes flagship current affairs investigations for Channel 4’s Dispatches and BBC’s Panorama strands. His work has won several Royal Television Society awards, a BAFTA nomination, a Sandford and a host of international awards.

Pervez’s undergraduate degree was in history and film, but his specialisms concentrate on his ever-evolving knowledge of current documentary production and broadcast investigation techniques. His aim is to bring a flavour of today’s broadcast industry into the classroom.

David Hayward

David Hayward is a journalist, writer and media consultant. He works with news organisations, governments, NGOs and charities, designing online video, digital media and crisis communications strategies. David was a journalist at the BBC for 18 years. He worked across the organisation, as a reporter, producer and senior editor, in network radio, TV and for the BBC World Service Trust in Bosnia, Albania and Romania. His most recent role was head of the BBC Journalism Programme. The programme was designed to keep the BBC at the vanguard of the digital news revolution. He established and turned it into an internationally renowned series of conferences, master-classes, debates, workshops and training courses. These included the BBC Social Media Summits in partnership with the New York Times.

David has a strong track record of leading teams at the forefront of the move into multi-skilled, multi-media working. He was editor of the first BBC multi-media newsroom and led several high-profile projects, including the BBC’s Local TV pilot. He lectures and writes about ethics and the changing nature of journalism and is regularly invited to speak at conferences in the UK and internationally.

Hannah Cogan

Hannah is a producer, filmmaker, and investigative journalist who has worked across documentaries and current affairs in Britain and North America. She has worked in strains including Dispatches and Unreported World, as well as producing for Channel 4 News. She took part in the Investigative Journalism Training Scheme at Channel 4 and holds an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University. Prior to working in television, she assisted in investigations at The Times and Private Eye.

Hannah teaches and trains journalists and filmmakers at the secondary school, university, and professional levels. She teaches the secondary school journalism program at Queen’s College, Cambridge, lectures on the JOUR5101 and JOUR5103 modules at DMU, and trains journalists in research and filming techniques for Channel 4

Professor Stuart Price

Stuart is Professor of Media and Political Discourse, Chair of the Media Discourse Group, co-editor of the books series ‘Protest, Media and Culture’ (including ‘Sites of Protest’, 2016), and the author of a number of monographs, book chapters and articles on Media, Communication and Politics (including ‘Worst-case Scenario’, 2011). He is also programme leader for the MA course Global Media. A highly experienced PhD supervisor, Stuart’s research interests include the role of journalists in the dissemination of meaning, news discourses and the ‘war on terror’.


Facilities and features

Endorsed by Channel 4

Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 and Visiting Professor in Media Discourse at DMU, said: “Channel 4 is committed to training the next generation of investigative journalists. Our current Investigative Journalism Training Scheme provides training in investigative skills to working television journalists with more experience.

“This collaboration with DMU takes our commitment a stage further providing a very high quality MA with teaching provided by professionals who are themselves television journalists of the highest calibre. It’s vital for the future of investigative television journalism that we train up a new generation and widen the pool of talent to include people from diverse backgrounds.

“Quite a number of people have general television making skills, but lack the sort of specialist knowledge required.”

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Library services

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available.

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose.

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub.

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.


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