By Olivia Knudsen & Agnete Bråtun
Olivia Knudsen and Agnete Bråtun are journalism students at the University College of Volda. They were on special assignment covering the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Lillehammer, Norway earlier this month.

Reprinted with permission.

(LILLEHAMMER, Norway) – Oct. 22: Are muckrackers born or made? The question was asked by Sheila S. Coronel, academic dean at Colombia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, in the session Investigative Journalism with Students.

“We believe they are made, that is why we are teaching investigative journalism. We also believe they come in all sizes and shapes.”

Coronel and Deborah Nelson, associate professor of investigative journalism at the University of Maryland, discussed how they teach their students to produce high quality stories and what they expect from them.

Coronel highlighted that the only way to learn investigative journalism is by doing.

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Deborah Nelson
thinks investigative journalism is crucial and that all journalism studies should focus more on this type of reporting and writing. “When I interview them, I try to scare them. If they still want to study here, they know what investigative journalism is all about. They are very talented,” she said.

Nelson explained that they chose the cases to work on depending on the level of difficulty and importance. The students need inner strength and curiosity to work on the project, but also, constant guidance from professors.

Journalism teachers “should read investigative stories to their students, analyze them, and talk about them step by step,” she said. And they “should be available for the students so they can ask for help while working.”

Check out Deborah Nelson’s presentation here.

Read the entire story on the Global Investigative Journalism Conference website.