2011 Agenda

Day to day agenda of the Second Summer School, with all scheduled activities, trainers and lectures.

BIRN  Summer School
August 21 – 27, 2011

Arrival: Sunday, August 21, 2011
Palace-Bellevue, Opatija, Croatia
Welcome and Introductory Dinner

Monday, 22 August

DAY 1: The fundamentals of investigative reporting

  • 9:30 – 10:00Opening and IntroductionSheila Coronel, Columbia University and Helena Bengtsson, Swedish national broadcasting company
    Introduction of trainers and participants; Briefing on the week’s agenda, What participants should expect and what is expected of them
  • 10:00 – 11:00Lecture and discussion: What is investigative journalism and how do investigative reporters think?Sheila Coronel
    Introduction to investigative reporting, what makes it different from other kinds of reporting and the techniques that investigative reporters use; Examples of investigative reporting that have been done around the world
  • 11: 00 -11:15Coffee
  • 11:15 – 12:15 Exercise: Thinking like an investigative journalistSheila Coronel
    An idea for an investigative story will be presented to participants; They will be asked to strategize: how will they begin reporting the story? What sources would be available? What reporting techniques can they use? What possible problems can arise?
  • 12:15 – 13:00Exercise continues: How investigative journalists thinkSheila Coronel
    Case Study: Estrada InvestigationSheila Coronel
  • 13:00 – 13:30 Briefing: Conceptualizing and investigation and writing a story memoSheila Coronel
    Participants will be divided into groups. Each group will choose a topic for a possible investigative story and will work on refining a story proposal during the course. At the end of the course, each group will submit a story memo that describes their research and reporting strategy. BIRN will offer funds for the best story proposal, to be announced on Day 5
  • 13:30-15:00Lunch
    During the lunch break, participants will be asked to sit and work together in groups to discuss possible story ideas.
  • 15:00-16:30 Lecture and discussion: Numbers as Proof in Investigative ReportingHelena Bengtsson
    Numbers can be used as convincing proof for an investigation; When can numbers help; And when are numbers useless
  • 16:30 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00Dinner at Hotel

Tuesday, 23 August

DAY 2: The paper trail

  • 9:30-10:30What are public records and where can you find themSheila Coronel
    The concept of public records and the role they play in investigative reporting; Examples of how public records were used to provide proof of wrongdoing will be shown; Demonstrations of useful search tools and databases
  • 10:30-11: 15Using public records to track organized crimePaul Radu, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Network
    How can journalists use public records to track something as secret as organized crime; The truth is that even criminals keep records, and they leave a paper trail; This session will show how corporate and other public records can be used to investigate organized crime
  • 11:15 – 11:45Coffee
  • 11: 45 – 13:30Discussion: Using Freedom of Information Laws in the Balkans and ElsewhereHelen Darbishire, Access Info Europe and Helena Bengtsson, Swedish national broadcasting company
    Over 80 countries in the world have freedom of information laws; Many of these laws are problematic, but they are also useful; Journalists can use them to get information not only in their own countries but overseas

    Exercise: FOI laws exercise

  • 13:30 – 15:00Lunch
    Groups meet to discuss story ideas focusing on what public records they can use for their proposed investigation
  • 15:00 -16:30 Excel 1: Percentages and mean, median and mode; using Excel to organize informationHelena Bengtsson
    Introduction to Excel; The logic of spreadsheets and how to do basic calculations using them; Excel is a great organizational tool for investigative journalists; It’s a wonderful way to put all your information in one place so you can make sense of it
  • 16:30 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00Dinner at Hotel

Wednesday, 24 August

DAY 3:  The investigative interview

  • 9:30 – 11:00Presentation: The art of the investigative interviewJim Mintz, Columbia University
    Investigative interviewing – getting information from reluctant sources – is an art; But it can be learned. What are the most effective questions? How can you get sources to talk?
  • 11:00 – 11:30Coffee
  • 11:30 – 12:30Exercise: Getting reluctant sources to talkJim Mintz
  • 12:30 – 13:30Lecture & Discussion: Interviewing Victims of TraumaGavin Rees, Dart Center Europe
    Journalists often interview survivors of violence, crime and trauma. These interviews require sensitivity and special skills.
  • 13:30 – 15:00Lunch
    Groups meet to work on story proposal, focusing on whom they can interview and what questions they should ask.
  • 15:00 – 16:30Excel 2: Computations and other Excel tricksHelena Bengtsson,
    Advanced Excel lesson
  • 16:30 – 18:30Free time
  • 18:30 – 20:00Panel discussion: Social media and investigative reporting
    Moderated by Ana Petruseva, BIRN Macedonia; Panelists: Paul Radu, OCCRP, Paul Bradshaw, Online Journalism Blog. The increasing influence of social media, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, have made them essential tools for investigative reporters. You can mine these networks to find people and to contact them. They can also be used to promote stories, crowd source investigations and other purposes. But there is a dark side to social media as well.
  • 20:00 Dinner at Hotel

Thursday, 25 August

DAY 4:  Investigating Organized Crime and Corruption

  • 9:30-10:30Presentation: Techniques for investigating organized crimeDrew Sullivan, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Network
    What techniques have journalists used to investigate organized crime? Who are their sources? What data is available? What are the problems? How do journalist techniques differ from the techniques used by police and other crime investigators? What can journalists learn from the techniques used by others?
  • 10:30 – 11:00Coffee
  • 11:00 – 12:30Presentation: Techniques for investigating corruptionSheila Coronel, Drew Sullivan
    How have journalists investigated corruption in public office? What techniques do they use to investigate the assets of public officials, bribery, money-laundering and theft of public funds? Case Study: Jeta Xharra and Faik Ispahiju, BIRN Kosovo team
  • 12:30 – 13:30Presentation: Using data in investigative reportingPaul Bradshaw, Online Journalism Blog
    This is the Age of Data. Governments and companies, as well as multilateral institutions like the World Bank, are making available large amounts of data, a lot of it online. Increasingly investigative journalists are mining this data for their stories. This session is an introduction to “data journalism”.
  • 13:30 – 15:00Lunch
  • 15:00-16:00Presentation: Using data in investigative reporting (continued)Paul Bradshaw
  • 16:30 – 18:00Panel Discussion: Effective story telling techniques – What works and what doesn’t
    Randall Joyce, CBS News, Sheila Coronel, Columbia University
    Investigative stories are complex and often difficult to tell. How can journalists make investigative reports more interesting and easier to understand? What kind of narrative structures are effective? Does effective story-telling help ensure that stories have an impact?
  • 18:00 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00Dinner at Hotel

Friday, 26 August

DAY 5: Workshops & Closing Panels

  • 9:30 – 13:00 Workshop: Story Proposals
    Groups present their story ideas; participants critique and discuss the story ideas in terms of: relevance, significance, feasibility, methodological rigor and public interest.
  • 13:00 – 15:00Lunch
  • 15:00 – 16:30Panel: Wikileaks, libel tourism and the new era of investigative journalism: Challenges, threats and opportunities
    Moderated by Ana Petruseva; Speakers: Nick Davies, Guardian, Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO, Jeta Xharra, BIRN Kosovo
    The Internet Age has brought both blessings and threats to investigative journalists. On one hand, the Net has made it easier to get information and to pass it on securely, as in Wikileaks. At the same time, the Internet has made it possible for journalists to be sued overseas, in countries where readers can access their stories. Investigative journalists face other threats as well – they have been attacked and killed.
  • 16:30 – 20:00Free time
  • 20:00 – 23:00Farewell dinner and awarding ceremony on a boat cruise 

Saturday, 27 August


  • 10:00End of Programme