Investigative Journalism

The most vital job of the media men and journalist is to dig out the true information. Walter Lippmann said in Liberty and the News,

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil.

Investigative journalists and media men, investigating the wrongful conviction of a death-row inmate, or exposing a financial giant for misuse of investors’ funds, investigative journalism is critical for the upholding of a true and just democracy.

Journalists see the exploitation of power, and they are determined to determination to help bring the abusers to justice, then becoming an investigative journalist. Many schools, institutes, colleges, universities, associations, networks, organizations and universities offer courses in investigative journalism and reporting.

Investigative journalism is the process of researching and digging the information and make a story from that information, as writers who investigate and report information with the purpose of triggering the change, betterment of the society and keeping in view of public interest, investigative reporters are often support and play an active role in the societies. The Internet has been revolutionized flow of knowledge, easy sharing of information and the successful investigative journalist must know technological aspects of journalism. Investigative and research skills, commitment, consistency, creativity and determination, and have sense of scepticism are all mandatory qualities they must have.

Bob Woodward is America’s preeminent investigative reporters. He worked with Carl Bernstein, and the original news reporting on the Richard Nixon – Watergate scandal.

Cambridge dictionary

A type of journalism that tries to discover information of public interest that someone is trying to hide.

Definition of investigative reporting and journalism vary, among scholars and professional journalism but there is an agreement of its major constituents: systematic, in-depth, and original research and reporting, often involving the secrets. On the other, the heavy use of public records and data, with a focus on social justice, betterment of the society, public interest and accountability.

According to handbook published by UNESCO, an investigative journalism defines as:

Investigative journalism involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed–either deliberately by someone in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding. It requires using both secret and open sources and documents.

The Dutch-Flemish investigative journalism group VVOJ defines investigative reporting simply as

Critical and in-depth journalism.

All reporting is different than investigative reporting. Journalists do reporting on a daily basis and it’s a routinized process for them. But investigative reporting is somehow different and lot of people and time is involved in investigative process of a story. There are many technicalities and data involved, in which journalists deal while using new technology to figure out the truth. Investigative way of journalism is much wider than before now a days and methods involved in it. Investigation demands high standard and quality research and reporting such as: in-depth inquiries that carefully track looted public funds, abuse of power, environmental degradation, health and political scandals, and more.

According to Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) Experts, trainers and investigative journalists considered that the best investigative journalism employs a “careful methodology, with heavy reliance on primary sources, forming and testing a hypothesis, and rigorous fact-checking”. The dictionary definition of “investigation” is “systematic inquiry,” which typically cannot be done in a day or two; a thorough inquiry requires time.

Investigative reporting is important because it teaches new techniques, new ways of doing things,”observed Brant Houston, the Knight Chair of Journalism at the University of Illinois, who served for years as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors. “Those techniques blend down into everyday reporting. So you’re raising the bar for the entire profession.