What is investigative reporting - Essay Example

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Investigative reporting can be understood as that type of high-quality reporting which is based on in-depth and sound research, facts, and statistics. Investigative reporting is all about bringing truth before public, which public is unaware of…
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[Your full July 22, Investigative Reporting Investigative reporting can be understood as that type of high-quality reporting which is based on in-depth and sound research, facts, and statistics. Documentary research, far-reaching interviews involving public and private facts, are involved, along with the use of crime solving tools and technologies, like security cameras and surveillance instruments. Investigative reporting is all about bringing truth before public, which public is unaware of. Investigative reporting leads to fair depiction of facts, and is powerful and careful at the same time. “Investigative journalism is finding, reporting and presenting news which other people try to hide. It is very similar to standard news reporting, except that the people at the centre of the story will usually not help you and may even try to stop you doing your job”, states The New Manual (para.1). So, it becomes quite a difficult job for investigative reporters and journalists to gather facts from unsupportive institutions or groups of people, and they have to risk their lives very often. Matters that may be kept secret on small scale include a girl missing from school, domestic abuse, and car theft. These are the matters that people may keep as secret. On a larger scale, institutions, banks, and other private and public sectors may want to hide many financial frauds from their customers and the general public, and this is the job of an investigative reporter to identify and collect facts and proofs against such cases which are kept secret. Hence, we see that the job of an investigative reporter is to get to the root cause of a criminal case, and gather facts that the concerned parties want to keep as secret. Investigative journalists have to be fearless, resolute, enduring, observant, reasonable, strong-witted, as well as stubborn, in order to be successful. Generally, investigative reporters work from minor details, and then, go toward the finest details of the criminal case. They start from an investigative hypothesis, and then sniff around like watchful dogs to gather facts and prove the hypothesis. What, where, who, when, how, and why, of the case are answered. It takes a long time to reach to the root cause of the problem, because extensive interviews and in-depth research studies are involved. According to Paul Wilson (para.3), “The questions a journalist seeks answers to are: who is responsible for the wrong doing; what methods were employed; what are the consequences; what can be done to correct the wrong; can the wrongdoers be brought to book?” Let’s take an example. Consider Mr. A stole crucial company information from Mr. B’s personal documents that the later had stored in his personal computer and lockers at home. Now, the paper trails will include documents; personal trail will include human interviews; electronic trail will include the use of computers during investigation, also called computer forensics; and, finally the field work which includes onsite inspection. Such a lengthy and time-consuming process is worth it in the end, since it yields perfect results and sound evidence to be presented in the court proceedings. Chris Pearson, in his website, has cited some very good examples of investigative reporting. One story that he has talked about is Beverly Ford’s report, titled “Suspended! Thousands of Massachusetts Students Tossed Out of School for Minor Offenses”, in which thousands of students were suspended in 2009-2012, for reasons of smoking, drinking, and other bad behaviors that could not be tolerated under school policies. The suspensions continued to increase in the following years. Students punished for “minor infractions” (Beverley, para.5) were many, and they raised much more concern due to the amount of class time lost during punishments. Finally, lawyers intervened and investigators investigated the issue, protecting the future of many students. On another place, in a report titled “Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts” (The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists), a team of investigative reporters spent a good number of months, travelling across eleven countries, investigating the issue of trade of human body parts that were being traded without the consent of the concerned parties. They found that dead humans were being recycled, and there was a huge business that depended on human corpses for human body parts trade. To conclude, investigative reporting seeks to find out facts and truth about cases which are kept hidden from the eyes of the general public. The process of investigative reporting is hard and lengthy, since the concerned parties are often unsupportive, making it all the more difficult to reach the root cause of the problem at hand. It needs determination, wit, and strength of mind, to reach the truth in investigative reporting. Works Cited Ford, Beverly. “Suspended! Thousands of Massachusetts Students Tossed Out of School for Minor Offenses.” New England Center for Investigative Reporting. NECIR, 2012. 23 Jul 2012. <>. Pearson, Chris. “A Few Examples of Good Investigative Reporting.” iLind. iLind, 2007. Web. 23 Jul 2012. <>. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Skin and Bone: The Shadowy Trade in Human Body Parts. The Center for Public Integrity, 2012. Web. 23 Jul 2012. . The News Manual. “What is Investigative Journalism?” Introduction to Investigative Reporting. David Ingram and the Peter Henshall Estate 2008. Web. 22 Jul 2012. . Wilson, Paul. What Investigative Reporting Entails. 1988 Press Release, 2012. Web. 22 Jul 2012. . Read More
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