Cross-Border Investigative Journalism: An Online Course

The Center for Media, Data and Society at CEU Democracy Institute is inviting journalists with some experience in news reporting to participate in its new Cross-Border Investigative Journalism online training course.

Successful participants from the western balkans will receive a certificate from the Central European University,

signed by the Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society and verifiable for employers. Journalists from other regions are also welcome to take the course but we cannot issue a certificate for them.

The course is based on our successful Cross-Border Investigative Journalism Training for the Western Balkans, but it is now open to journalists from other countries.

The training offered is a self-study online course. This means that learning materials and resources are provided by CMDS, but participants progress at their own pace and explore the course material, videos and articles in accordance with their needs, skills and prior knowledge.

The course aims to

  • equip reporters with improved skills of the latest investigative reporting techniques to be able to research, conduct and present cross-border investigations;
  • integrate technology/multimedia approach for investigative research, documentation, internal organization, (multimedia) storytelling and data visualization;
  • help journalists minimize their risks by providing basic legal knowledge, and digital and physical security techniques;
  • prepare journalists to collaborate regionally on cross-border topics

The course

  • features top-level journalists as instructors with experience in cross-border investigations;
  • mixes theory and methods with hands-on, practical approach for a complex learning experience;
  • delivers content in a wide range of forms and formats including readings, exercises, case studies, best practices, quizzes and assignments, in text and multimedia formats

The course covers

  • setting up and managing cross-border investigations, from selecting topics to setting up the right team, to challenges of cross-border cooperation and to adapting the findings to different audiences;
  • verification methods, tools and tips for online videos, still images and social media accounts;
  • open-source research techniques, from using search operators to checking databases and to tracking flights and ships;
  • social media research techniques, including using search tools;
  • verification of sources and documents, from better understanding the authenticity of material found online to detecting fake social media accounts;
  • ethical challenges and threats, from deciding which stories should remain untold to undercover reporting, using hidden cameras and to relying on whistleblowers;
  • legal challenges, from the rights and obligations of journalists to defenses against libel and to getting legal help;
  • security issues: how to secure online behavior and prevent surveillance;
  • challenges with confidential human sources;
  • data visualization and how to use data for investigative reporting, from identifying and finding the relevant data to cleaning up dataset and to visualization;
  • storytelling: how to build narratives of complex investigations, how to organize and structure your findings.

 The course language is English.


Learn more about the instructors, the course structure and the application process

Application: ongoing

Rolling admission.

If interested, send an email to with your CV or a link to your professional profile (for example on LinkedIn). More information about the application process can be found here.

If you need more information, please send an email to

The course is organized in the framework of the Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey project, which is implemented by BIRN Hub in partnership with Thomson Media gGmbH (TM), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Central European University (Center for Media, Data and Society at CEU), the Media Association of South-East Europe (MASEE), the Center for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIN CG), the Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers in Macedonia (SSNM), BIRN Albania and BIRN Serbia.

The project is funded by EuropeAid/European Commission through its Regional Training and Support Program to Improve Quality and Professionalism in Journalism.