Chapter 1 of 24 from Bob Woodward



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."

Topics include: What Is Journalism?

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."

Topics include: What Is Journalism?

Bob Woodward

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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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.

Watch, listen, and learn as Bob teaches investigative journalism in his first-ever online class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Bob will also answer select student questions.


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.

Great insight into life as an investigative journalist as well as his biggest stories. Enjoyed it.

What a great course! Wish we had more content! Love Masterclass! It would be great if we could have more foreign experts as well for diversity and broader perspective.

Awesome! I want to be a journalist in my country who don't have fear to show the truth.


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.

Hilary T.

I am very interested in learning all I can from Bob Woodward. With 4 years of reporting under my belt I am just now stepping into the world of investigative journalism and am looking forward to learning about how I can do my job to the best of my ability!

A fellow student

Carol Compton, Los Angeles Thrilled to have this opportunity to learn from Bob Woodward. Grew up with Watergate and was a Journalism major in the 70s. Didn't become a professional journalist. I'm not built for the pressure of "go with what you got" deadlines or the bustle of the newsroom. I'm a professional researcher, influenced by the Washington Post reporting. Mr. Woodward's point in this lesson is important. Journalism is digging out and verifying the facts. And then reporting the truth come what may. Looking forward to the class. Thank you.

Meg N.

I have had arguments over different styles of journalism, British vs Japan's, and want to learn Bob Woodward's philosophy and practices to see if or how the two can be reconciled. I was very heartened by this first lesson's statement that the yelling and raised hands in the press room is not the core of journalism, and look forward to learning / observing what is at the core.

Caspian L.

Let's dig much deeper then! My eleven years in the PRC (mainland China) showed me just what brutal and absolute state censorship does to a people, it turns them into 'mushrooms' (kept in the dark and fed on horse sh1t!). Six of my postgraduate journalism students are incarcerated (10 years each) for publishing the truth, others are missing. I got my wife, our young children, and myself out before we got a 0200h knock on the door. Chinese orphanages are no place for humans or animals. Journalists MUST be courageous, have integrity and professional ethics... a philosophy for living. CS.Lawrence


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. [INAUDIBLE] the climate, whether the media is revered or reviled, we should and must persist. [APPLAUSE] 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...