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JOUR12-180: Investigative and Solutions Journalism January 2020 [Standard]

General information

Investigative journalism effects change by exposing injustice, holding power to account and presenting solutions to challenging social issues. This subject embraces the journalism research opportunities offered by the digital age and empowers students to apply them to rigorous, compelling reporting on public-interest matters and contemporary social issues. Students will explore a range of investigative methods, including: advanced interviewing, social media reporting, using public records, freedom of information requests, data journalism, rounds reporting, verification and crowdsourcing. The subject will also teach students: investigative traditions, contexts and funding models; how to navigate complex ethical and legal issues; and how to create cross-platform stories and present information in both narrative and visual ways. The project-based assessment invites students to work collaboratively and individually on a public-interest investigation with strong solutions journalism elements and an emphasis on empowering communities, governments and organisations to generate meaningful change through the reporting process. 


Academic unit:Faculty of Society & Design
Subject code:JOUR12-180
Subject title:Investigative and Solutions Journalism
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:January 2020
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Computer Lab: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Laboratory
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 12) - No Description
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended study hours


Prescribed resources: No Prescribed resources. After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
[email protected] & Email:[email protected] is the online learning environment at Bond University and is used to provide access to subject materials, lecture recordings and detailed subject information regarding the subject curriculum, assessment and timing. Both iLearn and the Student Email facility are used to provide important subject notifications. Additionally, official correspondence from the University will be forwarded to students’ Bond email account and must be monitored by the student.

To access these services, log on to the Student Portal from the Bond University website as

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ?


Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

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Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Evaluate a range of traditional and digital investigative methods and apply them to the development of a public-interest investigation.
  2. Develop a sustained research strategy and adapt to challenges to create a major individual or collaborative investigative report.
  3. Consider ethical and legal issues from a variety of perspectives and develop frameworks for best-practice reporting.
  4. Understand the theory, traditions and complex role of investigative journalism in the context of a fast-changing industry landscape, new funding models and new practice models, including solutions journalism.
  5. Generate a cross-platform investigate report in line with industry expectations.
  6. Harness a range of emerging and established digital tools to research, curate and present compelling and rigorous public-interest narratives.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
Capstone Project Investigative Report: This assessment will be broken into manageable pieces, with lots of support and feedback along the way. You'll begin with a research plan and work towards an investigative report, including visualisation, research journal and reflective analysis. 85% Ongoing 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
*News Article Local Government Reporting *Submission in Week 4, 5 or 6, depending on the schedule of the Gold Coast City Council meeting. 15% Week 4 1, 2.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Accessibility and Inclusion Support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

The theories, ethics and traditions of investigative journalism, including samples of the genre at its best and worst.

3, 4.

How a variety of approaches to news reporting that focus on the responses to social issues as well as the problems themselves can increase journalistic credibility and effectiveness.

1, 2, 3.

Navigating documents, freedom of information requests and reports to uncover valuable (and exclusive) stories.

1, 2.

Using social media and other tools for news tip-offs, verification, safely communication with sources and crowdsourcing/engaging audiences.

1, 2, 5, 6.

From local to federal and international government, how investigative journalists keep politicians from abusing their power, and represent the eyes and ears of the public in parliament.

3, 4.

How data can strengthen stories, expose corruption, evidence social trends, bolster journalistic credibility, challenge stereotypes and add insight to your reporting.


From the treatment of special sources, through to the obligations of confidentiality, the importance of public interest reporting, reporting on challenging topics and the ethics of certain kinds of information gathering (including whistleblowers, undercover reporting, hidden cameras and data leaks).

1, 3, 4.

How to get the most from your interviews.

1, 2.

The pressures on investigative journalism, the trends and leading players in public-interest reporting and opportunities for investigative journalists and media outlets: including unconventional collaborations and publishing opportunities.

1, 3, 5, 6.

No matter how hard-hitting your research, as an IJ, you still need to craft a story. Using language, facts and visualizations, how to bring your stories to life, so that they have the biggest reach and impact possible.

1, 2, 5, 6.

How collaborative and networked journalism can result in deep, diverse investigative reporting, breaking an investigation into steps, conceptualising and executing a long-term investigation.

1, 2, 3, 5, 6.
Approved on: Sep 10, 2019. Edition: 5.0
Last updated: Oct 7, 2019.