This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop.
By Jeffery Ernest Doherty, New York
I was an avid fan of investigative reporting. I would watch Frontline out of habit, read long articles in the New York Times and spend hours reading news stories that dug deeper than normal reporting. I had written and co-written a few articles for my school newspaper, but I wanted to do more. The [school] advisor recommended me to the NECIR summer investigative workshop and I wouldn’t forget it.
It was a fresh experience going to a college and staying there with roommates. We all quickly developed a camaraderie after going to some early lectures. We were all interested in some way in investigative reporting, but we differed in many ways, which made the experience more fulfilling.
We’d go to classes where we’d be lectured on journalistic ethics and learn about reporting methods. We were taught by veterans of the journalistic trade, but we could also connect to them because they had the same passion as we did. We also went on trips all around Boston, where we all could socialize and relax after being grilled on how to not write an unethical story.
I was challenged throughout the workshop, which made me learn skills and techniques I may have never seen until two years into a desk job at a newsroom. I also got the chance to talk to Dr. Darin Detwiler, an assistant professor at Northeastern University and a food safety advocate, for my article. I was able to trace the journalistic endeavors of my lecturers and see the reporting process in its entirety.
When the workshop ended, I was sad to see my new found friends go so soon, but I realized I had gained many new skills I may not have gained otherwise. Database searching, interview tactics, connection making and tactics for investigation. All skills that are normally hard to attain when unguided.
In the digital era, information flies by in milliseconds. At times, it’s hard to comprehend fact from fiction, or anything at all. Investigative journalism can help make events, ideas and people more real as well as easier to understand. The NECIR Investigative Reporting workshop gives a place for a new generation of reporters to start from, and for them to do great reporting.