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PCIJ’s Basic Investigative Reporting Seminar: Political Clans, Governance, and Journalists’ Safety

Open to mid-career and senior Filipino journalists, citizen media, and bloggers
Researchers, anchors, producers, editors, news managers, freelance reporters, contributors, and stringers of print, TV, radio, and online media may apply. Citizen media and bloggers covering public policy issues are also eligible.

Application Deadlines and Tentative Seminar Dates:

Application Deadline: May 17, 2013
Seminar Dates: June 27–30, 2013

Application Deadline: June 10, 2013
Seminar Dates: July 25–28, 2013

Application Deadline: July 10, 2013
Seminar Dates: Aug. 22–25, 2013

Application Deadline Aug. 1, 2013
Seminar Dates: Sept. 19–22, 2013

Seminar Topics

Session 1: Media Killings, Political Violence, and the Culture of Impunity in the Philippines

Overview of media killings and human rights abuses in the Philippines; the hot spots of political violence and human rights abuse; The legal context, and international and Philippine protocols on Conflict, Human Rights, and Extra-Judicial Killings.

Panel Discussion with officials from government agencies involved in monitoring and prosecuting human rights and extra judicial killings cases such as the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Justice, and the Commission on Human Rights

Session 2: Political Clans: Past and Future Links

Historical analysis of political clans and their networks in government; The connections between the rule of political clans in certain areas with development plans and the socio-economic conditions of the areas; Participation of certain political clans in the May 13, 2013 national and local elections and its implications for governance.

Session 3: The Government’s Purse: Tracking the State’s Resources

The government’s budget process, assessment of the use and spending of various lump-sum funds (e.g., PDAF, IRA), and the sources of financing available to national and local government agencies; Information and insights journalists may derive from datasets available on government websites.

Session 4: Ethics and Safety: Field and Newsroom Judgment Calls

Discussion of measures that newsrooms may implement to protect journalists, and ethical and editorial standards that media agencies may institutionalize; Practical safety tips and safe-passage techniques in high-risk and dangerous areas of coverage.

Session 5: The Fundamentals of Investigative Reporting

Investigative methods and tools that could be used when studying political clans, governance, and extra-judicial killings.

Session 6. Tracking the Investigative Trails

  • Practice Set A. The Paper Trail: Understanding, Connecting, and Organizing Documents and Databases — a “show-and-tell” session of the different types of documents useful for journalists doing in-depth reports on political clans and governance.
  • Practice Set B. The People Trail: The Art of the Interviewmock interviews and critique session

Session 7: Putting the Story Together

Various techniques to make a complicated and data-driven story accessible to citizens; How an investigative report can be translated for broadcast (TV and radio) or rendered on multimedia platforms.

Workshop: Pitching Story Ideas and Developing Story Plans


The PCIJ will cover:

  • Round-trip transportation from the participant’s place of work and/or residence to the seminar venue.
  • Board and lodging during the seminar.

The PCIJ will also provide a modest fellowship grant for story proposals that will be approved during or immediately after the seminar.

Application Requirements

  1. Completed application form with two references (see attached .doc file).
  2. One or two samples of work discussing public policy, development, human rights, or governance issues.
    • For print and online: link to the stories or attach copies of stories in Word or PDF
    • For TV and radio: link to the broadcast story, or attach script or story concept/treatment

Successful applicants will be notified within 10 working days after deadline.
The seminar graduates will be accorded priority slots in the subsequent Advanced Investigative Reporting Seminars that PCIJ will conduct in 2014.

Sending your application:

By email:
Email address:
Please state ‘Application to Basic IR Seminar’ on the subject line

Note: We will acknowledge receipt of all submissions. If you do not receive any reply within three working days, please resend your application and move a follow-up email or call (02) 410-4768.

By fax:
Telefax: (02) 410-4768
Please write ‘ATTN: PCIJ Training Desk’ on the fax cover sheet

Note: After faxing, please call (02) 410-4768 to confirm if all the documents had been transmitted successfully.

By mail:

The Training Desk
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
3/F Criselda 2 Bldg., 107 Scout de Guia St.
Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City 1104

Note: We will acknowledge receipt of mailed applications via email or text.

Please contact the PCIJ Training Desk at (02) 410-4768 or

Through combined onsite and field learning sessions, the seminar aims to enhance the participants’ investigative reporting skills and practice, and offer a framework for analyzing media killings and safety issues in the context of governance, the culture of impunity, and the presence of political clans and private armed groups in many parts of the country. The seminar also seeks to highlight the role of the police and the Commission on Human Rights as vital sources of journalists.

The seminar will feature lecture-discussions and workshops to identify potential risks and practical safety tips when covering dangerous assignments. A Story Development Workshop will give participants an opportunity to pitch story proposals that the PCIJ may consider for fellowship grants and editorial supervision.

Experts from the academe, national media organizations, the police, human rights agencies and organizations, and data repository agencies will lead the discussions.

This seminar series draws support from the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

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