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Investigative and Impactful Journalism from Master's Students

News: Jan 12, 2017

In August 2016, the one-year international Master’s Programme in Investigative Journalism, was started for the first time by the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG) at the University of Gothenburg. The first group of students is now midway through their course and about to start their thesis and project work on issues that behoves to be investigated as part of public service journalism.

As part of the programme the students have already identified and filed stories involving investigative journalism, and managed to produce compellingly watchable news features and analytical reports. They have dug out reports that are easily ignored. Illegal billboards, the housing market in Hjällbo, the cost of burials, the situation of Roma people in Gothenburg and the exploitation of asylum seekers and immigrants at the black labor market are some of the stories investigated within and around the city of Gothenburg. Two of the students have also visited Brussels by winning a travel grant and another two are in the process of getting a grant of €4000 to travel to North Africa as part of an investigation into illegal mining of minerals.

David Crouch, one of the head teachers at the programme and also a freelance writer for the Guardian, Financial Times and New York Times, finds the programme unique in this way:
"The Master’s at JMG stands out from other courses because students are expected to produce a substantial amount of practical journalism in print and video. The course strives to recreate the atmosphere of a newsroom in seminars and workshops, and the goal is for students to think about investigating issues that can be pursued all the way to publication."

16 countries, 3 continents, 30 languages...

In the 2016-2017 batch, there are students representing 16 countries from the continents of Europe, Australia and Africa and the class has a linguistic diversity of more than 30 languages (!). The students benefit from their peers by learning from each other about socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds and how media operates in their respective countries. David Crouch notes:
“The nationally and linguistically diversity has greatly enriched both the teaching and the learning experience. Most students have journalism experience, and some have continued to work part time in the media industry during the course. They bring with them a mix of skills, knowledge, passions and concerns of young people who want to change the world, as well as understand it. “

The need of investigative journalism

And the skills are needed. Jonathan Lundqvist from Reporters Without Borders, emphasized the importance when he gave a guest lecture on the programme:
"Almost anywhere you look in the world…without a functioning journalistic practices, without free speech, without a media that can correct the mistakes of the government, you cannot have a stable environment enough to be build a functioning democracy. That is why investigative journalism and journalism works in a country."

Experts across professions are increasingly emphasising the need for original stories and first-hand information and in this Digital Age the need for investigative journalists might assume even greater importance, especially as a counterweight to dis- and misinformation on the internet. This development also makes it increasingly important to master the new journalistic methods and techniques that are required today.

To study investigative journalism in Gothenburg

The Master’s Programme in Investigative Journalism at JMG is the only such course among the Nordic and Scandinavian countries. Alongside with the practical skills the programme presents investigative journalism in a broad theoretical context enabling the students to develop their skills as well as deepen their understanding of the profession. One of the advantages of the one-year’s programme is staying in Gothenburg which is neither big nor small but lagom: just right, in every sense. David Crouch observes:
“When I first moved to Gothenburg it felt like I was in a northern wilderness on the edge of the planet. How wrong I was! Sweden's second city generates a constant stream of stories of international significance. On the Master's at JMG we begin by introducing students to the news environment in the city from the point of view of foreign news outlets. Last week a senior journalist at the Associated Press called me to ask if I was interested in helping them cover Scandinavia. During the conversation I found myself frequently talking about the work Master's students at JMG have been doing in their first semester, because it fits very well with what the AP is looking for. As a practicing freelance writer for the Guardian and other newspapers, I find that teaching improves my own journalism and inspires me to do more.”

Application in progress

As the first group of students are starting their second semester the admissions for the second batch 2017–2018 are in progress, and students have started to show interest across Europe and beyond. Jenny Wiik, the coordinator of the programme, is very pleased with the start-up of the programme.
“Journalists of today cannot be limited to national borders, which demands an overall understanding of the international arena and knowledges of how conditions for investigative reporting differ between countries. The curriculum focuses on these issues, but equally important are the experiences and ideas the students exchange during the programme, as well as the networks they create when studying together. That will be very useful for them in the future. This process has been quite amazing to observe and be a part of and I’m excited to follow this class to their exams and to welcome a new one in August.”

Fact about the programme:

Master’s Programme in Investigative Journalism
Next start: Autumn 2017
Language of instruction: English
Academic credits: 60 hec
Application periods:
Non-EU/EEA citizens: October 17, 2016 - Jan. 16, 2017
EU/EEA citizens: March 15, 2017 - April 18, 2017

JMG – Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg.




Pictures, from the top: Students practicing interview techniques, David Crouch, students in class, Jenny Wiik, the class of 2016-2017.






BY: Kovuuri G. Reddy

Page Manager: Cajsa Malmström|Last update: 2/12/2018

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