Steve Bryant has a piece on an joint summer program between several prominent J-Schools that seeks to focus in-depth on honing investigative skills (the four major focuses are the budget of Homeland Security, immigration, privacy vs. national security, and the U.S. military abroad).

From the article:

Those complicated subjects are exactly the ones getting passed over in newsrooms today, according to Brant Houston, director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. Houston said that every year, investigative reporting continues a downturn in prominence.

“Investigative reporting relies almost exclusively on the individuals putting in lots and lots of time and effort for which they’re usually not compensated, except to have the story done,” he said. “Any program that that promotes investigative reporting especially during this time of increased government secrecy is a good thing.”</i>

The program also stresses online tools, such as Flash animation, podcasting and video journals.

This section of the program has apparently hit some roadblocks:

But some coordinators, while enthusiastic about the project as a whole, expressed frustration with project’s online plans. And a few fellows are hesitant to fully endorse how the universities approach online media.

Rich Gordon, coordinator at the Medill School at Northwestern, said the universities were late to address the online component of the project.

“Carnegie has two goals for the program, though I’m not sure they’re equal,” he said. “One is to get stories delivered through traditional media. Two is experiment with innovative ways to do these stories. Each school is focusing first on the story problem. Only with the second it’s been like, uh-oh, we better figure out how to deliver this online.”</i>