Association of Journalists (AoJ) Held Training Camp on Investigative Journalism

October 9, 2023
Association of Journalists held a training camp in Sığacık (İzmir,) on investigative journalism for 10 young journalists in İzmir between 25-29 September.
Photo: Association of Journalists, Turkey

The main purpose of the camp was to enhance capacities and skills of journalists in production of quality news content and investigative journalism, as well as to boost cooperation between trained journalists and different stakeholders, providers of professional training for journalists, media supporting organizations, civil society organizations, etc.

The Project Director, Nursun Erel and the academic Hülya Eraslan and experienced journalist İbrahim Gündüz in their capacities as trainers held the training sessions. Special quests’ video talks were prepared with the journalists Emre Kızılkaya, Hazal Ocak, Hale Gönültaş, Özlem Gürses, Gökhan Tekşen for discussing the situation of the investigative journalism in Turkey. The training employed a variety of methodological approaches, including presentations, discussions, guest speaker presentations, group discussions, and the exchange of ideas and perspectives.

The first day started with an ice breaking session during which the Project Director Nursun Erel explained the purpose and scope of the project, introduced the trainers, and invited the participants to share their expectations from the camp. Nazmi Bilgin, the president of the Association via a video call welcomed the participants. The next sessions continued with presentations on scope and definition of investigative journalism and its history combined with presentation of case studies from the world and Türkiye held by İbrahim Gündüz. Difficulties and obstacles of investigative journalism were also discussed during this session.

The second day commenced with an insightful session on “Investigative Journalism in Diplomacy and Parliamentary Correspondence” led by İbrahim Gündüz. Participants explored the nuances of investigative journalism in the realm of diplomacy and parliamentary affairs. The day continued with a session led by the trainer Hülya Eraslan focused on data journalism and exploring open sources that can be harnessed by investigative journalists for their research endeavors. Ms. Eraslan shared her expertise on conducting research using historical newspaper archives, demonstrating how to draw comparative conclusions from old newspaper data.

The late afternoon brought an exciting introduction to, an open-source tool designed for investigative journalists. The session was led by Ivana Nikolic from BIRN Hub. She introduced the platform and granted attendees full access to it, allowing them to use it for free in their investigative journalism pursuits.

The third day kicked off with a thought-provoking interactive session led by trainers Nursun Erel, Hülya Eraslan, and İbrahim Gündüz focused into the unique attitude and attributes required to thrive in the investigative journalism, such as strong communication skills, self-confidence, risk-taking, patience, and analytical thinking. The afternoon session led by trainer Hülya Eraslan delved into the ethical considerations surrounding investigative journalism. Participants engaged in discussions about methods such as concealing identity, secret recordings, confidential sources, leaked documents, and crowdsourcing, which have been utilized in recent years in the world and Türkiye. Afterwards İbrahim Gündüz addressed the challenges and obstacles that investigative journalists may encounter in their profession. Attendees gained valuable insights into the potential problems, legal issues, and barriers that investigative journalists must navigate in their pursuit of uncovering the truth.

Thursday’s program commenced with an enlightening session led by trainer İbrahim Gündüz, focusing on the Environmental Issues Journalism as a Contemporary Investigative Journalism example. Later that day the participants were presented with an assessment of how journalists are perceived by the public and society in Türkiye, including discussions on potential biases and prejudices.

The final day of the training camp included reflective session led by trainers Hülya Eraslan and İbrahim Gündüz. Participants engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of the training program, summarizing the key lessons learned and discussing their experiences throughout the week. Interactive discussions allowed attendees to share their opinions, ideas, and suggestions for future improvements. Participants will have the opportunity to put their newly acquired skills into practice by undertaking a micro-project.

The mayor of Seferihisar (İsmail Yetişkin) and Head of Press Council (Pınar Türenç) paid visits to the camp and were interviewed by the young journalists.