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Investigative Journalism


Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • Essentials of Journalism


This course is for students who are interested in learning about the theory and practice of investigative reporting in today’s media. Students will read, listen to, and watch outstanding examples of research journalism which they will analyze from the perspectives of: aims, methodology, results and social context. The class will explore innovative methods, strategies and tactics that journalists employ in investigive projects. Students will also be expected to complete their own investigative report.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to describe and critique the role of investigative reporting as a social watchdog and a force for greater accountability from public officials and powerful people in an open society. Students will be able to describe the investigative process from a journalist’s, rather than merely a news consumer’s, perspective. Students will also be able to employ investigative reporting methods and produce their own investigative report.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course is taught through a combination of exposure to various published/broadcast investigations by professional journalists, independent exploration of the media for successful investigations, classroom discussion and presentations, practical instruction and exercises aimed at learning new journalism skills and sharpening existing ones, and the completion of an actual investigation capped off by the writing of a publishable investigative report.

Assessment Method

  • Overall participation in discussion: 15%

  • One in-class group presentation: 19%

  • In-class essay 1: 12%

  • In-class essay 2: 12%

  • In-class essay 3: 12%

  • One investigative report (1,000 words): 30%

Reading list

We will read two complete books this year:

  • Empire of Pain (author: Patrick Radden Keefe)

  • She Said (authors: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey)

Additional reading, including scholarly essays and journalistic articles, television productions and podcasts, will be assigned and/or distributed during the course.


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Robert Chesal,