Summer School 2014

The 2014 Summer School, held for the first time at Goldsmiths, University of London. Some of the sessions were recorded and you can watch them online:

Keynote Speakers

William Binney
William Binney is one of the most senior whistleblowers ever to have emerged from the shadows of the US intelligence establishment spoke about the evolution of the US surveillance state and how the government kept it hidden to avoid exposure to the main body of congress the courts and the public. He also spoke about the difficulty of trying to be a whistleblower in an environment where the highest levels of government were violating the founding principles of the US republic - the Constitution.

Lena Thiele: Net Wars
Lena Thiele, Europe's leading web-creator and creative director of interactive media spoke about the strategies for interactive storytelling.

New Financial Models for Investigative Journalism
Israel Mirsky (Uncoverage), Mark Watts (Exaro), Christopher Hird (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) looked ways of making investigative journalism a viable business in this panel discussion chaired by Miranda MacLachlan.

Talks and Training

Find the Mistakes - Before it's Too Late
How do journalists avoid pitfalls and mistakes when making investigative stories? The answer is a system of pre-publication quality control. Together with his investigative team, Nils Hanson has developed a methodological approach to fact checking and bullet proofing investigative stories that is now being adopted in other newsrooms. Participants will be taught tools to avoid being the subject of investigations themselves.

On February 22, volunteer divers found nearly 200 folders of documents at a lake at the residence of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. In this talk Natalie Sedletska and Oleg Khomenok explain how they found and published the documents. 
Going Undercover to Expose Racism in Housing
Award-winning BBC investigative reporter Guy Lynn on his recent scoop (winner of the 2014 CIRCOM Prize for Investigative Journalism), his investigative career and dissecting some of the techniques used to pursue investigative stories. Guy will also offer a practical assessment of the methods and skills utilised by investigative TV journalists to research, interview sources and secure hard-hitting stories.
Digital Storytelling: What Are i-Docs? 
In this introductory class Sandra Gaudenzi explains the concept of an interactive documentary (i-Doc) and how they can change the way journalists tell stories to their audiences through direct engagement with their work. As an emerging genre, i-Docs (also known as WebDocs) are by no means a set format and give journalists and filmmakers the scope for experimentation.

Understanding Company Accounts 
In this talk, Martin Tomkinson shows you how to get the best out of the official Companies House website as well as pointing out what can’t be found here. Due to a technical problem, we have been unable to publish the video from this year, however, below is the video from Martin's 2011 talk at the Summer School.

Delegates' Feedback

"Top class speakers and plenty of opportunity to speak with them afterwards."

This year we've focused on the new ways of doing investigative journalism. And here is what you thought:

"[The Summer School] greatly exceeded my expectations for content, contacts and firing my own ideas up!"

"Dana Priest was full of great advice, based on excellent experience."

"Feel quite privileged to have been here for [NSA whistleblower, William Binney's] talk - really interesting and from a perspective you rarely get access to."

You had a few of complaints too: too many great talks to choose from (we like this one), not enough coffee (we will double that next year) and IT problems (a new venue threw a few of those, but the Goldsmiths IT is fixing them, we are told).

We were pleased though that the main objective: teaching investigative skills and inspiring future investigative work was there:

"Most of the talks were absolutely fascinating. InfoSec, NSA and Nick Davies and David Leigh's talk blew my mind!"

"I learned so much in three days that it will take three months to go through the information."

Your Success Stories

Please do tell us how attending the summer school or any other CIJ training events helped you to be a better investigator.

Tell us about your work: projects, publications, awards (and nominations). We are always very happy to hear about your success and will share it with the CIJ community. Please email