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Covering Sex Trafficking

About This Course

The trafficking of American children for sex is a story that could be told anywhere, yet few news organizations do it well.

It is a taboo subject, yet its themes encompass many of the major requisites for powerful and important stories: economics, social injustice, politics, psychology, biology, human struggle and, if you're lucky, redemption. Local journalists are key players as the U.S. awakens to this harrowing tragedy.

This Webinar will give you key interviewing and reporting techniques that will help you cover sex trafficking with context, credibility and accuracy.


What Will I Learn?

  • How to see your community's hidden story
  • Why most data is unreliable and how to overcome it
  • How to get the right kind of access
  • How to work with law enforcement, advocates and survivors
  • Getting past the who, what and how to explore the why
  • How to balance the needs for the story with the needs of victims
  • How to write this difficult story with maximum impact

Who Should Take this Course?

Reporters, editors, producers, bloggers and others who cover economics, social injustice, politics, psychology, biology and human struggles in their community.

Course Instructor

J. David McSwane

J. David McSwane is deputy projects editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which in October published his 44-page special report on sex trafficking called “The Stolen Ones.” His investigative work has been honored with a Peabody Award and IRE certificate. McSwane contributed to the textbook “Investigative Reporting: From Premise to Publication.”


Robert R. McCormick Foundation

Robert R. McCormick Foundation

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The foundation is one of the nation's largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets.

This $30 course is free thanks to the generous support of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

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