These workshops are waiting for you

Story-Based inquiry:

This two-day-course by head lecturer Mark Lee Hunter gives you the foundation for starting, deepening, organizing and writing an investigative report or article. It covers the Story-Based Inquiry (SBI) method, which has been successfully used by thousands of journalists, academics and NGO researchers since its publication by UNESCO in 2009. The core insight of SBI is that investigating and writing can form one coherent process. The investigator begins with a hypothesis that is testable. From this follows an outline for the story and a map for locating sources. The final product is a database that records the quest and the material found. The theory of the method is also described in several textbooks, so we have time during the course to address the work and practice of the participants.


Participants will learn:

  • how to conceive, assess and launch a viable investigation
  • how to organize and extend the research step by step
  • how to identify key sources and audiences
  • how to structure the research and the story simultaneously


Investigative interviewing:

This full-day workshop by Jim Mintz and Stefanie Dodt practices how to turn strangers into sources by reconsidering investigative interviewing. Interview techniques tend to focus on on-the-record conversations and the objective of obtaining quotes. When it comes to approaching strangers to become sources (investigative interviewing), the rules are completely different. This training will inspire you to rethink ways of approaching possible sources. It covers everything you need to know about the human side of investigative reporting. The workshop will enable you to win the cooperation of sources and to report deeply on important wrongdoing. No investigative reporting experience is necessary and all levels of prior knowledge are welcome.


Investigation online:

Henk van Ess is one of the leading minds on how to search the web. He will share his best tricks, teach participants how to think like a search engine and lead them to a better understanding of the web and its algorithms.


AI in investigations:

Everyone is talking about AI. But it needs Henk van Ess to make good, if not the best, use of it for investigations purposes. He will show you his ideas and the best tools available. He will probably (again) announce his resignation after this workshop, because he could be replaced by AI. But we are sure that Henk will continue and develop faster than any AI can imagine.



It sounds like a dream for many OSINT specialists: Maltego can run a multitude of tools automatically, and it also visualises the process, hence maping what the algorithm is doing and how different entities, traces, people etc are connected. But once you have installed the programme, you feel lost, as if you were in the cockpit of an aeroplane with nothing but a driving licence. Leo Reitano is an investigator who uses Maltego for his cases and will teach you everything you need to know about this complex tool. For an overview of what can be done, day one is fine, if you want to use it yourself you will need day two on top.



It is not as anonymous as most people think. Rebecca Zinke will show you the best insights to investigate crypto with free tools. She will also show what paid tools can add to your investigation and where it is best to co-operate with experts.



Data journalism is becoming increasingly indispensable in investigative research. Relevant data can reveal patterns or lead researchers to a needle in a haystack. But often enough, there is no download button that spits out an easy-to-read Excel spreadsheet. Scraping is one way to get the information you need anyway. In the workshop, participants will learn about easy-to-use tools that do not require any coding knowledge. Participants will also receive an introduction to the use of command line tools. In just a few steps, they will then be able to use scraping scripts for their research. The course also covers how to find subjects and how to convert file formats into a format they feel comfortable working with.


The workshop will give participants:

  • an overview on what tools can do what tasks
  • examples for plugins, e.g. a tool to download friends/followers on social media
  • command line tools
  • the basic knowledge on cleaning and formatting data
  • exercises on the most important tools



The web is full of OSINT tools, and there are many more to be discovered. Many ideas and programmers do not make it to their own tool website, but share their code on github. From saving a single youtube video to batch downloading entire instagram accounts. Running the code is much easier than coding it. But often the documentation is hard to understand if you have zero coding experience.


In this one-day workshop Claus Hesseling will show you:

  • how to run such code
  • how to avoid common mistakes
  • how to set up Github actions to run your code automatically, e.g. every hour or every day.



Oliver Klein is a fact-checker at ZDF, Europe's biggest TV station. No matter what the subject, he and his colleagues try to authenticate videos and images. Oliver's workshop will start with an overview of the most important tools and then dive into more specialised cases and tools, opening up a new universe of verification possibilities.


The seminar:

Does this video of an explosion actually come from downtown Istanbul? Is this image of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip real or was it created by artificial intelligence? Has Putin really sent nuclear-armed submarines ready for action to the Baltic Sea, as reported by media worldwide? These are exactly the kind of questions that verification expert Oliver Klein has to answer for ZDF every day. In this seminar, you will learn OSINT-techniques and -tools for fact-checking and also geolocation and chronolacation of images and videos - in other words, to answer the question of where and when images were taken. We will not only focus on the analysis of image and video files and EXIF data, but you will also learn strategies for search engines, online tools for geodata, sun position, various map services, etc. Also facial recognition and geolocation-tools that work with artificial intelligence will play an important role. Speaking of artificial intelligence: the seminar will also cover the question of how to identify AI images. Participants of the workshop can try out the tools and techniques shown right away. The seminar is aimed at journalists, editors, bloggers and anyone involved in the research and publication of information online.



BISS-Follow-up (extra  booking): Investigating the darkness:

The "darknet" is often the subject of journalistic reports - but hardly any journalists have ever been there themselves. This workshop provides insights into the "dark side of the internet". 


Its aim is to enable journalists to report from the darknet in future by researching it themselves. The training is practically orientated and shows participants how to access the darknet themselves, where it is worth researching and which communication strategies are promising. In addition to practical tips, the technical basics of encryption and anonymisation are also discussed, so that participants can also learn something "en passant" to strengthen their own digital security.


The focus is on research in criminal milieus - cybercrime, drug and arms trafficking, product piracy - but the seminar also sheds light on why darknet technologies can be vital for media professionals in repressive environments in some areas. (Note: The colloquial term "darknet" is understood in the seminar as onion services in the Tor network; other darknets are only discussed in passing).


Participation may be particularly worthwhile for people whose work involves researching the topics of cybercrime, political extremism, drug and arms trafficking or product piracy. (The topic of paedocrime will be discussed, but for ethical and legal reasons will not be explored in depth in practical exercises).


Key questions:

  • How does the darknet work and why does it guarantee technical anonymity?
  • How do you access the Darknet? Which research strategies are promising?
  • How do you communicate in encrypted form on the darknet?
  • What legal and professional ethical questions do journalists face when conducting research?
  • What role do digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Monero play on the darknet and how can they be used for research in blockchains?
  • How do you work with the live operating system Tails?
  • What potential do darknet technologies offer for journalism in politically repressive countries and in Germany?


On the second day of the workshop, the topics of the first day will be deepened with further exercises. Participants will also receive an introduction to the anonymous Tails operating system, which is indispensable for professional darknet research. Previous knowledge of Tails is not necessary.


Technical requirements:

Participants must bring at least one laptop on which the Tor browser can be installed and used. A second laptop on which "Tails" can be used in parallel is recommended for the second workshop day. Furthermore, all participants of the second workshop day are asked to bring an empty USB stick (at least 4 GB).



 Daniel Moßbrucker lives and works in Berlin as a journalist specialising in surveillance, data protection and internet regulation. He specialises in darknet research and works as a service provider for editorial offices throughout Germany. In 2022, he was awarded the Otto Brenner Prize for innovative media projects with a team from NDR and "Spiegel" for his darknet research into paedophile crime.