north-gate-hall-courtyard-reception-grayscale student-reporters orientation-2012 student-camera-focus

Course Curriculum

Investigative Reporting

The Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, established permanently in 2006, formalizes pioneering work begun in 1991 in the seminars taught by Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter and producer Lowell Bergman, then a CBS investigative reporter and 60 Minutes producer.

Funded almost entirely by private grants and gifts, including a chair endowed by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the IRP functions both as a specialized graduate-level training program and as a non-profit newsgathering operation, generating stories for major broadcast, print and online outlets.

In the last decade, dozens of stories have been produced out of the IRP on subjects including the practices of the credit card industry, corruption in Mexico, the sexual harassment and rape of female farmworkers in the U.S., the California energy crisis and the role of Enron, the environmental and social impact of American gold mining in Peru, the roots of 9/11, as well as subsequent stories on the terrorist threat inside the United States and Europe. The most successful and most honored of our projects was the 2003 investigation of worker safety in the iron foundry industry. “A Dangerous Business” which appeared as both a print series and a documentary, is the only winner of the Pulitzer Prize to also be acknowledged with every major award in broadcasting.

Projects produced by the program have appeared on such national television programs as PBS' Frontline, Frontline/WORLD and the NewsHour as well as ABC's Nightline, CBS’ Evening News and 60 Minutes II. In print, stories for which students were the primary authors or contributors have appeared in the pages of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle as well as a wide variety of magazines and international and local newspapers.

Projects in which the students' roles were acknowledged and credited have received the Pulitzer Prize, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award, Gerald Loeb Award, Peabody Award, National Press Club Award, George Polk award, the Sidney Hillman Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award, the Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism, and the Columbia Online Journalism Award.

The goal of the Investigative Reporting for Print and TV seminar taught by Reva and David Logan Distinguished Chair in Investigative Journalism Lowell Bergman is to provide an appreciation and understanding of investigative reporting. The class emphasizes the history and role of investigative reporting as well as skills and techniques needed to do it. Instruction focuses on developing sources, conducting research and interviews, using public records, the legal issues surrounding confidentiality and other issues. 

Classroom guests are frequent and include private investigators; current and former FBI, DHS and CIA officials and agents; prosecutors; judges; lawyers; and others whose work is key to developing investigative stories. Students learn the legal complexities of giving depositions, and dealing with operatives whose interests often overlap with those of reporters.

In 2007, in response to cutbacks at major news organizations, the Investigative Reporting Program established the first postgraduate fellowships in investigative reporting in the nation. This yearlong program is without peer at any academic institution. It is designed to enable select journalists with a proven ability to tell complex stories in the public interest, to pursue a story for up to one-year by providing them with a salary, benefits and editorial guidance.

2013-2014 Fellows Caitlin McNally, Matthew Brunwasser, Brian Joseph, and Monica Cruz-Rosas (not pictured)

2013-2014 Fellows Caitlin McNally, Matthew Brunwasser, Brian Joseph, and Monica Cruz-Rosas (not pictured)

This year’s recipients are Matthew Brunwasser, a 2000 Graduate of the Journalism School and an Istanbul-based independent journalist, and Brian Joseph, formerly Sacramento Correspondent of the Orange County Register. The Investigative Reporting Program is also providing special support for Caitlin McNally, a documentary film-maker and producer whose work has appeared on PBS “Frontline,” and for Monica Cruz-Rosas, a 2013 graduate of the Journalism School who is now an investigative reporter working in Mexico City.

This year’s fellowships are made possible by a core grant from the Sandler Foundation, along with donations from Scott and Jennifer Fearon, Margaret and Will Hearst, Steve Silberstein, the Financial Times, Peter Wiley and the Wyncote Foundation.

2011-2012 IRP Fellows Joe Mullin, Annie Murphy, Chanan Tigay

2011-2012 IRP Fellows Joe Mullin, Annie Murphy and Chanan Tigay

Winners of the 2011-2012 full-time, yearlong investigative reporting fellowships are Joe Mullin a legal reporter and alumni of UC Berkeley, Annie Murphy a South America based independent journalist, and Chanan Tigay, a San Francisco native who has covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 9/11 and the United Nations.

2010-2011 IRP Fellows Trevor Aaronson, Lee Wang and Tim McGirk

2010-2011 IRP Fellows Trevor Aaronson, Lee Wang and Tim McGirk

Winners of the 2010-2011 $47,000 full-time year-long fellowships are Trevor Aaronson, an award-winning print reporter, and Lee Wang, a documentary filmmaker and 2006 graduate of the Berkeley J-School. The Investigative Reporting Program is also providing special in-residence support to veteran investigative reporter and former Time magazine bureau chief Tim McGirk, who has covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the hunt for al-Qaeda. Mr. McGirk continues his work as managing editor of the IRP.

This year’s fellowships were made possible by a core grant from the Sandler Foundation along with donations from Scott and Jennifer Fearon, The Financial Times, The Gruber Family Foundation, The Hellman Foundation, John Keker, Jerome Simon and Peter Wiley.

2009-2010 IRP Fellows Matt Isaacs, Katie Galloway, Ryan Gabrielson and Zach Stauffer.

2009-2010 IRP Fellows Matt Isaacs, Katie Galloway, Ryan Gabrielson and Zach Stauffer.

Winners of the 2009-2010 $45,000 full-time year-long fellowships were Ryan Gabrielson of the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Ariz., and Matt Isaacs, a 1999 graduate of the Berkeley J-School.

Because there were so many qualified applicants in the 2009 competition, the Investigative Reporting Program created a new category to help support the work of Zachary Stauffer, a 2008 graduate of the journalism school and Katie Galloway, a lecturer in the Media Studies department at UC Berkeley.

Mr. Stauffer continues his work as an in-residence cinematographer and reporter. Ms. Galloway, our Filmmaker in Residence, was given special support for her feature documentary on a domestic counterterrorism case to be completed by 2011. Mr. Isaacs continues his work as senior reporter of the IRP.

2008-2009 Fellows Jonathan Jones, Carrie Lozano and Sam Kennedy.

2008-2009 IRP Fellows Jonathan Jones, Carrie Lozano and Sam Kennedy.

Winners of the 2008-2009 fellowships were Jonathan Jones, a 2005 Berkeley graduate, Sam Kennedy, a 2001 Berkeley graduate and Carrie Lozano, a 2005 Berkeley graduate. Ms. Lozano, a documentary filmmaker, continues to work with the IRP as the project coordinator of a unique grants-funded project on collaboration in investigative reporting. Mr. Jones continues to work on his book on Liberia out of the offices of the IRP.

IRP Fellows

2007-2008 IRP Fellows Marton Dunai, Siri Schubert and Andrew Becker.

Winners of the 2007-2008 fellowships were Andrew Becker, a 2005 UC Berkeley graduate; Marton Dunai, a 2004 Berkeley graduate, and Siri Schubert, a freelance business and financial reporter.

The IRP offices are sponsored by a generous gift from the Heising-Simons Foundation to the University of California, which allowed the university to purchase a building for the IRP and The Daily Californian.