Business, Politics & Society


Bob Woodward

Lesson time 6:19 min

Meet your new instructor: Bob Woodward. In this chapter, Bob underscores the vital role of journalism today. He also shares his belief that there are no boundaries to searching for what he calls "the best obtainable version of the truth."

Bob Woodward
Teaches Investigative Journalism
In 24 lessons, learn how to uncover the truth from the greatest journalist of our time.
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Everyone has their own version of the truth. But there are facts. There is reality. And as a reporter, you can come up with the best obtainable version of the truth. the climate, whether the media is revered or reviled, we should and must persist. The story has gone way beyond what we ever really wrote and predicted or had any notion of. I think anyone can be a journalist. I think we are journalists sometimes without knowing it. And that is we get data. We ask about it. We test it. And we talk to other people about it. This is the living business of assessing information. In a sense, we're all whistleblowers, aren't we? That we see things we don't like, and we talk and we complain. The sister who sees her brother doing something he's not supposed to do goes to Mom or Dad and blows the whistle. That's journalism. My concept of this master class is to use dozens and dozens of examples of experience I've had over 46 years, the things that worked, the things, the painful things that didn't work. So there are lessons about the importance of human sources of interviewing another human being, whatever it might be on, and techniques to demonstrate to them that you're really listening, that accompanies the effort to get written notes or documents or vivid evidence that something happened, and then to go have experiences or go to the scene to see if that validates what you obtained from human sources and the documents. That best obtainable version of that truth takes priority over everything. Political party takes priority often, even having the same personal life. Because if you're going to practice journalism, there are going to be periods of intensity when you are not just going to be working on the story. You're going to be living the story. The public often gets to just see the journalists shouting questions at the press secretary, either in the mayor's office or in the White House or in the Pentagon. And it's not a pretty picture of journalists. And it's kind of everyone's got their hand in the air, and they're screaming. And that isn't journalism. Journalism is trying to take and understand something in a comprehensive way. What is surprising about journalism, you wake up in the morning or go to the office, and the air is so often electric. Look what happened, what went on. Somebody just came up here an hour ago and told me. You won't believe what happened. That happens in the news room all the time. You're never really, as a journalist, in a situation where you can't really try to find out something, even if it's private, even if it's highly classified. The biggest secrets in the US government, the biggest secrets that people have, journalists may go make the inquiry because there is such concentration of power in government, particularly in the presidency. But the real important liberation for journalists, I think, is the S...

Find the real story

Bob Woodward was just 29 when he changed a nation. His Watergate reporting with Carl Bernstein helped expose the corruption of the Nixon presidency. Two Pulitzer Prizes and nineteen best-selling books later, the legendary journalist is teaching his first-ever online class for anyone who wants to find the truth. Learn to investigate a story, interview sources, and understand how the news is written. The next history-making story might be yours.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

As with all masterclasses thus far, I'm observining from a point of view that there must certainly be some sage advice from all of the experts. I'm not planning to become an investigative reporter, but Bob Woodwards lessons helped sharpen what I do. As did Ken Burns and as will each of the masters. They are masters afterall and their experiences and advice permenaties time and discipline.

Truly touching and inspiring. Thank you Bob Woodward.

I am an Entrepeneur, Filmmaker, and Environmental Advocate. This class rocks!

You're a superstar Mr Woodward. Thanks for such a great class


John P.

When a sister tells on her brother: that's journalism. Is it? Perhaps it is revenge, resentment, or envy; perhaps a need for recognition, or a way to feel important. I like how Mr. Woodward says that although everyone has a different story to tell, the facts matter; fact finding and sharing is for me what makes good journalism almost an end in itself. Here are the facts: make what you will. (Especially when those facts are not personally palatable!)

Joel Kirk R.

He tells me ANYONE can be a Journalist... We are all whistleblowers! OK! I'm ready to believe that Bob!

Tanja B.

I think it is great to learn from such experienced voices in these unquiet times.

Dwight H.

This is my intro remark for Mr. Woodward's class Looking at the double standards of Sky and Chris Hughes. Two different tones from the Hughes associated with the Shameful Whore letter and how the Hughes wanted Jodi and Travis together but later on said that they didn't want them together. In the spot from the article below during the trial both Hughes had this too say about Travis and Jodi. They realized she was not good for his bottom line. They said on the radio that Travis was not making as much money since he was dating Jodi and that he was neglecting his business. If they depended on him for making money for their PPL business, they had to get rid of her. Here is an email prior to the death of Travis where Sky tells Travis the following about Jodi. "Know that I would love to see you marry Jodi, but just because you have never seen her cry, doesn't mean she hasn't been crying," she wrote. "SHE LOVES YOU, so much that she is afraid that bringing up anything that is bothering her or letting you know she doesn't think you are 'perfect' would ruin all chances to be with you." Here is the Shameful Whore letter supposedly written by Jodi and sent too Lisa Andrews. If we break down the structure of the two parts the first part sounds the exact same mannerism of Chris and Sky Hughes on the radio regarding Travis not having anything to do with Jodi. The second part is more compassionate sounding like Sky's letter too Travis expressing how much Jodi loved Travis and how Travis' future would be perfect being married to Jodi. “You are a shameful whore. Your Heavenly Father must be deeply ashamed of the whoredoms you’ve committed with that insidious man. If you let him stay in your bed one more time or even sleep under the same roof as him, you will be giving the appearance of evil. You are driving away the Holy Ghost, and you are wasting your time. You are also compromising your salvation and breaking your baptismal covenants. Of all the commandments to break, committing acts of whoredom is one of the most displeasing in the eyes of the Lord. You cannot be ashamed enough of yourself. You are filthy, and you need to repent and become clean in the eyes of God. Think about your future husband, and how you disrespect not only yourself, but him, as well as the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Is that what you want for yourself? Your future, your celebration, and your posterity is resting on your choices and actions. You are a daughter of God, and you have been a shameful example. Be thou clean, sin no more. Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to make the right choices. I know you are strong enough to choose the right. Your Father in Heaven is pulling for you. Don’t ignore the promptings you receive, because they are vital to your spiritual well-being.” They match nearly identical in their emotional abuse of both Jodi and Travis as well as setting a future for Travis with someone else that Sky would have preferred Travis to be with. When being an investigative journalist you have to have the ability to match up keywords that the shark that you are trying spear uses. In this case the kewyord, future, is used in both of the Hughes remark about Travis and Jodi as well as the word future being found in the Shameful Whore Letter supposedly sent by Jodi to Lisa Andrews.

Jalelah B.

A big hello from Singapore. His passion is what kept me riveted, and hooked on his every word. To hear from someone who has made such a large impact on his country, its peoples, and as a result, the whole world, is such an amazing opportunity. Can't wait to hear more!

C H.

The elevation of transparency and the role of privacy in public life via the courts is very well drawn. Public figures have private lives, but not private privileges in relation to their roles. C A Holmes

A fellow student

journalism has to be the most interesting topic to explore in this day and age, and i am intrigued by this section. the role of journalism has always been at the forefront of my mind as an American. we are living in dark times and the truth is a complicated avenue to explore. i'm eager to learn and honestly want the most truthful depiction of the world or the reality of being a journalist in America. i love debate and think the correct format of debate can bring bring truth to my perception of reality.


This lesson was the "first piece of candy" from the proverbial "box"...An initial taste, prompts the desire to sample more; until all is completely consumed. I look forward to sharing these lessons as the delicious "confections" that they are, and I--further--anticipate being especially satisfied for the experience. This lesson that speaks of the importance of garnering the-facts, and patiently listening through interviews, then cross-referencing the aforementioned data, unto the formation of an accurate and balanced report, is a priceless lesson of building a FOUNDATION!

Louise K.

Loved this so far. I think he's fantastic and we are looking forward to continuing.

Carolyn H.

I'm a grassroots activist in Ohio fighting fracking and frack waste dumping in our watersheds. I'm also an outspoken citizen regarding women's reproductive rights. Although I've strong positions on issues, I want to develop skills to write with journalistic integrity and credibility, to get important information out to the public.