GIJN lent a hand to the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association last month, helping train 60 journalists in the fine art of muckraking in Thailand.
The four-day investigative reporting workshop was led by Nils Hanson, editor-in-chief of Sweden’s most successful investigative TV program, Uppdrag Granskning (Mission Investigate), at public broadcaster Swedish Television (SVT). He has 40 years of experience in the field, starting his career at age 16 as a “dispatch boy.” He regularly teaches investigative methods at conferences in Sweden and abroad and has authored a book on the subject. A veteran presenter at GIJN conferences, Hanson traveled halfway around the world at GIJN’s request to work with our Thai colleagues, who were brought together by the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association’s Manager and Editor Niramol Prasansuk.
The session — “Investigative TV Journalists Training and Workshop” — was held February 11 to 14, and was packed with television reporters, producers, and camera people.
Hanson spoke on such issues as how to generate investigative ideas, search and cultivate sources, gather evidence, and “bulletproof” a story. There was also time to address ethical aspects: Is it okay to pay money for information? Can a lie be justified in order to get evidence? What to do if a victim suddenly drops out just before deadline?
Despite military rule and tough times for the media in Thailand, the Thai broadcasters were eager participants.
“The ending workshop was quite amazing,” Hanson says. “They worked with an intensity that was really impressive, developing story ideas they had generated the first day. They had to give their stories a title, form a hypothesis (or two), and set minimum and maximum goals. After that they focused on how to make a great story out of it, following the classic storytelling structure, from prelude through point of no return, climax and denouement.”
“I believe some of these stories will be published!”