Investigative Reporting

Defend the need for investigative reporting

All journalism requires some form of investigation, but real investigative reporting requires in-depth research of the issues in question.

  • Class discussion: What kind of stories take digging to get? (Be specific.) Who benefits from investigations about crime, corruption and abuses of power?

➢ If journalists don’t investigate those kinds of stories, who else will?

  • Class discussion: Often investigative reporters work in teams, since there is so much information to learn and so many skills that are needed: research skills, analytical skills, people/interviewing skills, etc. As a class, pick a topic you think needs investigation. It might have to do with how effective a government policy has been (an education or a health policy, for example) or you might want to look into how certain kinds of people are treated (people in prison, people in hospitals, etc.).
  • Student exercise: Investigative journalism may sometimes come into conflict with Codes of Ethics, especially where they may require reporters to disclose their affiliations and not misrepresent themselves. Is it ok for a reporter to lie in order to get the information he or she needs for a story?

➢ What resources would you need (people, statistics, reports, etc.) to investigate this subject?
➢ What skills and/or background/experience would be needed to analyze that material?
➢ How long would it take to find, research and write up that material?