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Accredited investigative journalism diploma

Investigative journalism level 3 diploma

Course summary

£294.50 incl VAT. Payment options
3 x monthly payments of £98.16. No charges, interest or credit checks.
Cleland Thom
A passion for justice. Take our journalism challenge! 
Duration / hours:
Approximately 60-80 hours of study. You work at your own pace
ABC Awards level 3 diploma
Awarding body:
ABC Awards

Course review

Gill Donnelly: investigative journalism course

The lessons and completed assignments arrived in a timely fashion and the honest feedback was very helpful. I think the content is extremely relevant to the current global journalism environment.

Gill Donnelly: investigative journalism course

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Timothy Ijala: investigative journalism course

I wanted to study investigative journalism. The course content was comprehensive and enlightening. The quality of the tutorial support was very good and the feedback was quick.

Timothy Ijala: investigative journalism course

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Linda Preston: investigative journalism course

I chose this course after careful market research.
I was very pleased at the speed of response and helpful suggestions. I got the impression that Cleland really cared about helping his students.

Linda Preston: investigative journalism course

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Jackie Cairns: investigative journalism course

The course most definitely met my expectations. Very sound and thorough advice offered. Most importantly, marking of work was done in a kind, friendly and professional way.

Jackie Cairns: investigative journalism course

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John Saunders: investigative journalism course

The course more than met my expectations. I suspect it has permanently altered the ways in which I look at the world and the media.

The tutorial support was excellent. Very helpful. A superb back-up to the well designed content.

John Saunders: investigative journalism course

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Jeff Ball: investigative journalism course

I have always had an interest in investigative journalism and decided to take it further.

I don’t think the course could have been improved upon. The modules were sent quickly when requested and in many cases coursework was marked in one day.

Jeff Ball: investigative journalism course

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A. El-Kurebe: investigative journalism course

I felt that I would be an incomplete journalist if I did not have investigative instincts. It was marvelous! The support was not only friendly, but also encouraging. Cleland was always there to lend a hand.

A. El-Kurebe: investigative journalism course

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Philip Hilton: investigative journalism course

The course was of the highest quality. The tutor support is the best I have ever encountered on any course, whether bricks and mortar, or online. I have high expectations and have never been disappointed in any way with CMP.

Philip Hilton: investigative journalism course

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Rex-Salem Amartei: investigative journalism course

I enrolled on this course to gain more knowledge in journalism and it met my expectations. I learned how to be a successful investigative journalist and will definitely recommend the course to a friend. The tutorial support was excellent, as always.

Rex-Salem Amartei: investigative journalism course

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Nidia Lemmer: investigative journalism course

I needed to do a course through distance learning and CMP offered the perfect course at an affordable price. The course was great. It definitely exceeded my expectations.

Nidia Lemmer: investigative journalism course

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J. Rowe: investigative journalism course

The content was really good and covered everything I needed to start. The administration was professional, to the point that all correspondence with you was casual and punctual. A nice touch. Communication was prompt and precise.

J. Rowe: investigative journalism course

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Course overview

40% off this course in our New Year sale - Discount code: JAN17

An investigative journalism course student carrying out some researchOur investigative journalism course prepares you for a successful career as a staff writer or freelancer specialising in researching and writing in-depth exposé-style articles.

Investigative journalists need to be relentless in their search for the truth. They also need to be highly skilled reporters and writers.

Our investigative journalism course equips you with the skills you need to conduct thorough investigations, write compelling articles and find suitable markets for publication. And you will have CMP principal, Cleland Thom, as your tutor.

Cleland's investigations have been featured on TV, radio and the national media.

Investigative journalism contains a particularly high number of ‘grey areas’, including:

  • the ethics and rules of working undercover
  • accessing protected and classified data
  • privacy issues
  • interviewing whistleblowers and anonymous sources

We will teach you how to work within the limits of the law and press regulation, without compromising the quality of your articles.

We will also show you how to conduct detailed research using a range of methods, such as the deep web and advanced data scraping techniques.

The course is also popular with pressure groups and campaigning organisations, whose staff need investigative skills to find the information to help their causes.

Successful graduate, Philip Hilton, found our course taught him new research methods and gave him a thorough grounding in the Freedom of Information Act. See his review

You will also learn key journalism skills, including record-keeping, interpreting reports and traditional reporting methods.

Our comprehensive online investigative journalism course will teach you how to:

  • develop article ideas suitable for a range of publications
  • source information, conduct research and carry out effective interviews
  • write investigative articles and features for digital and print publications
  • apply media law and ethics to the world of investigative journalism
  • sell your work and get paid

When you graduate, you will receive the respected CMP Charter Mark as well as an accredited diploma.

See course reviews | See our alumni

Enquire about this course

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ABC awards logo

At the end of this course, successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement from ABC Awards, and a Learner Unit Summary, which lists the details of all the subjects they have completed as part of the course.

This investigatve journalism course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards’ Quality Licence Scheme

We will also email you the fully accredited CMP diploma in investigatve journalism, which is an industry recognised qualification that proves you are a qualified investigatve journalist.

These awards will enable you to apply for investigatve journalism jobs, develop your career, or help you find freelance work.


This course covers everything you need to know to get started as an investigative journalist.

Lesson 01: Introduction to investigative journalism
  • Examine what the investigative journalist does, and where you fit in
  • Analyse printed and online magazines, so you can identify potential leads for investigations
Lesson 02: Copy presentation and terminology
  • Submit content to printed and multimedia platforms in recognised formats
  • Learn industry jargon to communicate clearly with journalists, editors and publishers
Lesson 03: Notebook discipline and record keeping
  • Store and retain investigative journalism data safely, ethically and legally
Lesson 04: Contacts book
  • Record your investigative contacts' information safely, legally and efficiently
Lesson 05: Sources and output
  • Use your skills, knowledge, contacts and experience to produce potential leads for investigative stories
  • Find hidden content using the internet, social media, the deep web, the Freedom of Information Act, and advanced data scraping techniques
  • Prepare your stories and features for publication in print, online and on social media, and digital platforms
  • Carry out preliminary research, and use specialist skills to conduct an investigation
Lesson 06: Using a style guide
  • Ensure your investigative articles and features are presented consistently
Lesson 07: Who publishes what
  • Define different types of news
  • Understand different types of magazines, what they publish and who to
Lesson 08: Interviewing
  • Interview contacts in person, online and by phone, in open and undercover situations
  • Prepare to interview VIPs and celebrities
Lesson 09: Newswriting techniques
  • Write articles that are suitable for print, the web and social media
  • Attract the reader's attention by writing compelling starts to your articles
  • Maintain the reader's interest in your articles from start to finish
Lesson 10: Independent Press Standards Organisation: regulatory code
  • Adhere to the media's regulatory framework, with special regard to privacy, surveillance, subterfuge and the public interest defence
Lesson 11: Feature writing
  • Write all kinds of features: analysis, backgrounders, profiles, how-tos, and exposes, and adapt your content to fit different magazine formulas
Lesson 12: Press releases, reports and handouts
  • Use press releases to produce original articles
  • Analyse and interpret reports and documents and use them to generate article ideas
Lesson 13: Events, meetings and press conferences
  • Use live blogging and traditional reporting skills to cover meetings and other events
​Lesson 14: Media law basics
  • Keep your content safe from libel, copyright, confidence, data protection and privacy actions, and learn other laws affecting investigative journalists
  • Conduct investigations safely and securely
​Lesson 15: Selling your work
  • Pitch your articles to the printed and online media: who to approach, how and when, so you can negotiate the best deal

Where you could fit in as an investigative journalist

All types of journalism require an inquisitive mind. However, investigative journalism takes this to another level.

Our online investigative journalism course equips you with the skills you need to conduct in-depth investigations and sell the articles you write to a variety of online and print publications.

To succeed as an investigative journalist, you need a dogged desire to uncover the truth. You also need the ability to search out information that some people want to keep hidden.

In addition, you need solid journalism skills and knowledge, especially with regards to privacy, freedom of information and data protection.

The qualities of perseverance and tact are essential, as you will be approaching sources who may be reluctant to talk to you about what they know.

As an investigative journalist, you could be:

  • protecting consumers by exposing fraudulent traders and their dishonest behaviour
  • uncovering wrongdoing at the highest levels within corporations, organisations or governments, and telling the world about what’s really going on behind closed doors
  • helping bring criminals to justice by pursuing investigations, within the parameters of the law
  • researching and writing explosive articles that detail the social, legal and political injustices that get your blood boiling

Successful graduate, Jason Rowe, found our course was the ideal preparation for researching and writing articles about the biotechnology industry. See his review

Our investigative journalism course is also the ideal foundation to develop a career as a staff writer and editor.

Successful graduate, Abdallah el-Kurebe, found our course honed his investigative skills and broadened his journalistic horizons.

After completing the course, Abdallah became a regional editor at Nigeria’s Newswatch Communications. See his review

If you would like to uncover an exciting, satisfying and worthwhile career investigating and writing about what’s really going on in the world, our comprehensive online investigative journalism course will reveal all you need for success.

CMP Charter Mark

CMP charter markThe Charter Mark is our assurance of accredited educational quality.

We award it to students who have graduated from one of our courses or training programmes. It helps them to find work.

Holders are licensed to use it on their websites, stationery, and social media profiles.

The Charter Mark guarantees that holders have achieved set standards of competence in a given field.

It gives employers confidence that applicants for staff positions or freelance work have received accredited training and independent assessment.

See more details

Course tutor: Cleland ThomCleland Thom

National newspaper investigative journalist

Sunday Mirror | The People | News of the World | BBC's Rough Justice

Cleland has been involved in investigative journalism for the whole of his career, including working on four high-profile murder cases.

His work has been featured on BBC2’s Rough Justice, London Weekend Television and the Press Gazette.

And he has worked on assignments for the News of the World, ITV, The People, the Sunday Mirror and local media.

One investigation resulted in two men being released for a miscarriage of justice after an investigation and campaign that lasted 25 years.

Two other men were jailed as a direct result of Cleland's other investigations.

He now trains investigative journalists on leading titles such as:

  • Manchester Evening News
  • Birmingham Post and Mail
  • Liverpool Daily Post and Echo
  • Ipswich Evening Star
  • Wales on Sunday

Cleland will mark your work, answer your questions and give you friendly help and advice.

More about Cleland

This course gets results

Our graduates get articles published most days. Many of them have gone on to become successful freelancers, and make a good living from writing.

And don't take our word for it: 

See course successes

We'll connect you with the right people

Investigative journalism is about knowing the right people: the editors, the publishers and the staff journalists who make the decisions.

Our tutors have a huge range of active contacts on newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs and radio / TV stations. They can make personal introductions for you when it is appropriate.

We have arrangements with top news and feature agencies. If your work is good enough, they will sell it for you, and split the proceeds with you 60-40%. You get the 60%!

And we also have databases with the contact details of thousands of UK newspaper, magazine and radio journalists - essential when you are selling work, looking for work experience or job hunting.

Many of our students already have the experiences, skills and relationships to produce article ideas.

We have the expertise to turn those ideas into marketable content, and the contacts to help them get it published.

Course delivery

You will have access to our Online Learning Area, where you can:

  • download course materials
  • submit assignments
  • use our college libraries and resources
  • chat to other students
  • keep up-to-date with college news

Our turn-around time for marking work is three working days. We usually provide same-day tutorial support on weekdays.

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When you finish

When you complete the course, you will receive two respected qualifications:

These recognised awards will add value to your CV and help when you apply for journalism jobs or freelance work.

What you need to study investigative journalism

  • access to a computer, tablet or similar device
  • internet access
  • Microsoft Word or equivalent: OpenOffice, iWork pages
  • an email account
  • a camera and a video recorder. Smartphones or tablets are acceptable​

Course reviews

I needed to do a course through distance learning and CMP offered the perfect course at an affordable price. The course was great. It definitely exceeded my expectations. Nidia Lemmer

The course was of the highest quality. The tutor support is the best I have ever encountered on any course, whether bricks and mortar, or online. I have high expectations and have never been disappointed in any way with CMP. Philip Hilton

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