Chapter 2 of 24 from Bob Woodward

Guiding Principles


Bob's guiding principles push you to get outside your comfort zone, carve your own path, and leave opinion and political slant out of your reporting.

Topics include: Get Outside Your Comfort Zone • Leave Opinion in the Op-Ed Column • Don't Take Political Sides • All Good Work Is Done in Defiance of Management

Bob's guiding principles push you to get outside your comfort zone, carve your own path, and leave opinion and political slant out of your reporting.

Topics include: Get Outside Your Comfort Zone • Leave Opinion in the Op-Ed Column • Don't Take Political Sides • All Good Work Is Done in Defiance of Management

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.

Excellent. Bob gave a very well rounded view of journalism past and present. Very interesting .

This MasterClass with Bob Woodward gives an in-depth look into the profession of journalism. Find the facts. Seek the truth. Democracy dies in the darkness.

Eye opener with key, actionable insights from decades of experience and mastery of his art.


A fellow student

Is a fact an opinion or is an opinion a fact? People assume that there is a difference. Is there a difference?

A fellow student

Bob Woodward sounds exactly like my doctor, so whenever he talks all I hear is my doctor telling me to exercise more.

C H.

The thing about not voting is interesting. I was out of the loop for a former election, taking care of someone who was ill and just kept hearing the sound bites from each side being vehemently mouthed as truth by friends and family, strangers and media heads. It hurt, because some of these people were educated, brilliant professionals in their own right, yet were unaware they were being programmed at that level politically, and voting accordingly. Because of seeing the road in between ever since then, the idea to not vote is appealing, just don't want it mistaken for not caring, because I do.

Meg N.

I was very heartened by the points on writing facts not opinions, and having the courage of your convictions that getting the story is important. I've been told that "if you don't take sides, the middle-of-the-road is just roadkill.." At the same time, I'm having a bit of a philosophical challenge from the stance that there is something wrong going on, and that is what investigative journalism needs to report. I'll be working on that challenge throughout the course, I think.

Bob C.

C'mon this Bob Woodward. How you going to rate him any other way than a 5. For my generation, he is the guru. His position on being neutral or in the middle is poignant. You report facts, not opinion. You don't take sides. His quote of seeking, "The best obtainable version of the truth," is as succinct a goal as you can get. I love his constant reference to "The Pentagon Papers" and the Richard Nixon reporting. I lived through that thriller while in the military. It was history in the making. Good stuff.

Louise K.

The lesson guide you download has a link to an article called 'Donald Trump's Epic meldown' by Steve Chapman. The link is here: - It comes up with this error message: Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism. It looks like they have been taken down, at least from our side of the pond. I thought this was relevant because you are linking to him, but also tickled me as it was the example of opinion piece writing. In answer, which style is better, the internet has spoken.

John G.

I'm new to local news and I am still keeping within my comfort zone. Not wanting to 'jump in the cab' has meant that I have missed a few stories, or I've just not reported in enough depth. I guess that deep down, I'm worried that I will end up unable to get comments from the small pool of 'newsworthy' people in this small area of England. Has anyone upset a councillor, police commissioner, etc early in their career but still managed to get access to them throughout their career?

Victoria W.

Great story on "getting the story" and terrific insights as a journalist. This is a very enjoyable class about professional journalism from the Crème de la crème !

Hunter M.

A quick observation, Mr. Woodward stated that someone else stated he was the only person who goes on Fox News and MSNBC, that is patently untrue. Off the top of my head I have seen, Noam Chomsky, Christopher Hitchens, Ben Stein, and Thomas Sowell...just to name a few. In my experience people tend to only watch Left or Right leaning television, I think it's vital in our current socio-political climate to watch and listen to both sides of the aisle.

Khepri T.

Understanding why one needs to transcend a linear dualistic narrative model is part of the conscious evolution that is happening in the world right now. What you see happening across the different narrative domains is all surface noise. But that noise can be broken down into first principles and parts of distributed truth will shine from it. As one digs deeper into the Master templates that have been used over time to form Global Narratives, you understand why walking the narrow middle path is very important and extremely hard at times when it comes to seeking the Truth. It's not for everyone.


You need to get out of your comfort zone. You need to move into areas that you naturally do not understand. Because the learning curve is fast when you do that, and you are in a position as an outsider to look at what's going on differently. Move out of that zone. I have done that myself, tried to move from subject to subject, doing the CIA, the Supreme Court, presidents, the Federal Reserve, and so you have to work hard and you have to learn. And it gives you a leg up. Somebody who's been covering the State Department for decades is not going to do as well quite frankly as someone who's never been there who goes there who's a good reporter and has those feelings of anxiety and panic which are propellants to do good work. There are people who are reporters who can cover the politics and the back and forth-- and there were at the Washington Post. We're fact-based. We're trying to find out what happened and why. And if you mix-- as I think now occurs often-- the investigative reporters, the people who are focusing on facts, will go on television and give political opinions, and all kinds of people start talking about impeachment, and talk about things that-- in the news organization that needs to be separated dramatically. It's a matter of public confidence. Do they trust the media? And if they see the people writing the detailed stories reaching political judgments-- often prematurely-- they're saying, wait, wait a minute, is this a crusade? Let the editorial page-- let the opinion writers have their Crusades one way or another. I think for basic reporters on any level, whether it's in Washington, if it's the county council someplace in Idaho, if something is going wrong, if there is a hole in the system, report on that and separate the political, emotional coverage from those facts. As Carl Bernstein and I were working on the Watergate story and wrote in an article that John Mitchell-- really the closest person to Nixon-- had authorized the dispensing of all of this cash for illegal activity, including the Watergate burglary, we realized this was a big step. We're accusing the former Attorney General of the United States of being a crook. We ran this story. Karl got this shudder, this kind of very dramatic realization and turned around and said to me, you know, this president going to be impeached. And I thought and said, you're right. I think this is where it's going. But we can never use that word, impeach, impeachment, in the news room, because people will think we are on a political crusade. Karl agreed. And as best I can recall, for a year the word impeachment was not used. It didn't become an issue until the Saturday Night Massacre, when Nixon ordered the firing of the special prosecutor and there was a firestorm, and members of Congress introduced impeachment resolutions in the House of Representatives. And that began that House Judiciar...