Investigative reporting summer school for journalists

A pair of former World in Action journalists, who believe investigative journalism is in “real danger”, have launched a summer school on investigative reporting.

Topping the bill will be Pulitzer Prize-winning US journalist Seymour Hirsch, who made his name by exposing the 1968 My Lai massacre.

Other speakers include Bryan Appleyard from The Sunday Times and Robert Miller from The Times to talk about “the PR menace”, Phillip Knightley on war reporting and Duncan Campbell on reporting the police and secret service.

The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Northern Echo are all understood to be sending reporters on the course which takes place from 18 to 20 July at the University of Westminster.

Organiser Gavin Macfadyen said: “Michael Gillard and myself both worked on World in Action together and we realised that all the training that used to be provided by the BBC, World in Action and The Sunday Times wasn’t there any more. Investigative journalism is in real danger.

“There’s hardly a single investigative news programme left in Britain on TV and just a handful of reporters in the national press who you would describe as full-time investigators.

“Panorama has recently done some good programmes but putting it in the graveyard slot on Sunday night could well kill it. The most important reason for this is economic, it’s expensive to carry out investigations – for World in Action we used to have 40-odd people working on a single programme. Panaroma must have been the same.

“With this course we hope to give people a good sense of the law, show them how to unlock company accounts, how to use the Freedom of Information Act on European companies as well as US.”

The cost of the three-day event is £150 for students, £200 for NUJ, BECTU and IRE members and £250 full rate. More details can be found at www.investigativereporting.org.uk.

By Dominic Ponsford

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