Investigative reporting courses

Investigating Sustainable Development

A guide and method for advancing investigative journalism and SDG 16.10.2

A corrupt official's main worry is that his or her secret is revealed. Whereas investigative journalism is the key to disclose such breaches, access to information is the right to hold this key and empowers citizens through information and knowledge.

This unique course enables journalists to advance their knowledge and skill in Investigative Journalism and Access to Information (SDG 16.10.2), within the perspective of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Bridging Investigative Journalism and Access to Information, two fields of work that are interwoven and interdependent, this course serves as a  teaching guide and a supplement to the UNESCO’s Story-Based Inquiry: A manual for investigative journalists, which has been acclaimed by journalists across the world.

Coordinated by investigative journalists Mark Lee Hunter and Luuk Sengers, this course seeks to address the urgent need for more investigative journalism – in particular, experienced reporters who are willing to undertake investigations, either on their own or with their students in using access to information requests. 

Course structure and content

This course was built around two main axes: 

  • basic procedures of investigation, starting with making a hypothesis that can be verified; and 
  • key processes, notably interviewing and quality control. 

The materials are packaged in ten modules, each covering a different contemporary skill, to international pedagogic standards: a presentation and a teaching note, and in most cases handouts. 

Assigned readings are drawn from Story-Based Inquiry and The Global Investigative Journalism Casebook (UNESCO 2011). All the material is openly licensed, it’s immediately useable, and editable to suit journalists’ needs. 

The guide was developed within the framework of the “Advancing National Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms on SDG Indicator 16.10.2 to Improve Policies and Practices on Public Access to Information” project, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

Download the modules:
Module 1
Module 2
Module 3
Module 4
Module 5
Module 6
Module 7
Module 8
About UNESCO’s Story-Based Inquiry

First published in 2009, Story-Based Inquiry: A manual for investigative journalists has been a success and has been voluntarily translated into several languages - while UNESCO offered translations into French, Burmese, Portuguese, Khmer, Russian, and Uzbek. In working with the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) and the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), many of journalists adopted Story-Based Inquiry for their own trainings and courses. So did leading universities, NGOs and scholars.