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This is a review of the Bob Woodward Teaches Investigative Journalism class from MasterClass!
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The MasterClass Instructor – Bob Woodward
This class begins with an epic introduction that sends chills down your spine. It begins with Bob Woodward explaining his philosophies of investigative journalism while images and newspaper clips are displayed across the screen from Bob Woodward’s involvement in some of the most influential moments in American history. Bob Woodward is an associate editor of the Washington Post, who is best known for uncovering Nixon’s involvement in Watergate. He has been established as one of the best reporters of all time.
He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first in 1973 for the coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and second in 2002 as the lead reporter for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Gene Roberts, the former managing editor of the New York Times, has called the Woodward-Bernstein Watergate coverage, “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.”
Bob Woodward designed this class to give advice on being the best investigative journalist by sharing his own personal experiences and insights. He explores the importance of human sources, interviewing techniques, finding written evidence, and going to the scene to uncover the best version of the truth.
Investigative Journalism – Who is it for?
This class is for anyone who is interested in pursuing the practice of investigative journalism. Whether you are just beginning your career, working for a small local newspaper, or are working for a large national newspaper, this class provides great lessons about objectivity, how to gather reliable sources, and how important your interviewing skills are to build the best picture of the truth. Bob Woodward explains how anyone can be an investigative journalist and how we all have been whistle blowers even from childhood. He explains how telling on your younger sibling is one of the earliest examples of our need to share the truth and we do this by whistle blowing on our own siblings. This class is also for anyone who is interested in learning more about Bob Woodward and his own personal experiences. He teaches this class by sharing his own techniques and lessons he learned throughout his career, especially through his reporting on Watergate. So for those history buffs out there, this course is worth your while if you want to get insights to Bob Woodward’s views on some of the biggest events in American history.
MasterClass Bob Woodward – Main Themes
- Be hungry for the truth
- Get your rear out of the chair
- “The best obtainable version of the truth”
MasterClass Workbook – Bob Woodward
The workbook for this class is a great reference tool. Included in the workbook is a review of every lesson, opportunities to learn more, and assignments. The workbook provides numerous links to great articles and resources to read and analyze. This section of the workbook guides viewers in their analysis and reflection on different articles and ethical questions. This class really is what you put into it. If you want to really pursue journalism and want a class that challenges your views and journalism skills, this workbook is key to developing this strong foundation. The assignments will help you strengthen your analytical and writing skills. At the end of the class, there is one large assignment where Bob Woodward asks viewers to use the tools they have learned from this class to write their own piece on something newsworthy going on around them. He then he challenges the viewers to submit and pitch their story to a local news outlet.
MasterClass Investigative Journalism Takeaways
This class is a beautiful combination of Bob Woodward’s own personal experiences, his views on major historical events, advice, and student reviews on Bob Woodward’s interviews with two presidents. Bob Woodward does a great job going in depth in three major topics: sources, interviews, and writing. He uses his own experiences to provide advice and even shares examples of his own pitfalls in hope the viewers will learn from his successes and mistakes. Throughout these main sections, Bob Woodward also explores the guiding principles, student analyses of his own interview techniques, and how he uncovered the Watergate scandal.
The starting point in journalism is that there are no boundaries. Everyone has their own version of the truth. But there are facts. There is reality. And as a reporter you can come up with the best obtainable version of the truth.
What I found surprising and extremely beneficial, was Bob Woodward’s views on modern investigative journalism. He expresses the need for genuine and reliable journalism in this time where journalists are largely mistrusted. This lesson ends with a powerful phrase, “democracy dies in darkness” and the only way to bring the light is “better more authoritative stories”. This powerful closing lesson leaves viewers with the inspiration to use the tools and insights learned in this class to uncover the truth with integrity and objectivity.
Final thoughts on Bob Woodward’s MasterClass
I was impressed by this class from the very beginning! It was extremely organized and used a variety of different methods of teaching. I loved learning more about Bob Woodward’s experiences while working on Watergate and I found it interesting to hear student opinions about his own interviews with two recent presidents. I also found the workbook very beneficial, especially for anyone who is serious about investigative journalism. This class provides great tools and advice for finding sources, conducting interviews, and writing. So if you are interested in pursuing investigative journalism at any level, this class is one of a kind! What do you think of this MasterClass? Visit MasterClass to subscribe or find out more!