How To Be a Great Investigative Journalist
Since the media is now has more freedom than decades ago, the investigative journalism is growing so fast. From its name, we can understand that this news is composed from investigation toward a specific topic. Commonly, journalist does investigation toward corruption, crimes, and other hot topics.
The Sources of Information
Basically, the information can be gotten from various media. It can be research results, lawsuit documents, or even public database. Journalist can interview important key persons related to the topic too. Sometimes, the interview can be done with anonymous source. This is done for protecting the sources from any harm. The journalist can also get the information from doing investigation toward technical issues.
The Risks of Investigations
There are risks that can arise from investigative journalism. If the topic is very sensitive to government or certain people, the journalist can be threatened. There are many cases where the journalists are suddenly lost without reasons. Some are killed in the middle of the investigations. Another risk is the threats toward the sources of information. Sometimes, this is the reason why the investigative news is quite difficult to be made. There are cases too where the journalists find dead end toward their investigation. They have to find another idea since they can’t find supporting information.
What to Prepare for the Investigation
To do investigation, a journalist should be well prepared. They can do the following preparations:
The first thing to do is getting specific. Investigating too many things at once can be confusing. A smart journalist will focus on very specific subject but cover all parts about the subject. This way, the investigation news can have in-depth material. The readers will be happier too in reading the news as it is very complete and thorough.
Getting Background Information
Before going to the field, the journalist has to find background information regarding the topic. This way, he or she can know what to be asked to the sources. The information can be gotten from various sources. The easiest way is finding it through the internet. The journalist can also read database or public record to find relevant information.
Prepare the Tools
During investigation, it is important to record anything the journalist found. Journalist can employ digital tools like recorder to record the interview. Other important tools are paper and pencil. These tools should be brought everywhere the journalist goes. It will help them in writing important information from the sources. It helps them linking the dots they found during the investigation.
Build a Network
It is a good idea to build strong network between journalists. This way, journalists can share the ideas and information. A smart journalist will build the network with important people too. From them, they can ask information regarding the investigation.
In Finding the Sources
Since this is investigation, a journalist should be smart in finding the sources too. Letting a source knows the way to find the journalists can be beneficial in the future. This is so, because in many cases the sources won’t be interviewed at the first place. The journalist can leave his or her contact, thus the sources can tell him or her once they are ready to be interviewed.
Persuading the Editor
The journalist should also convince the editor and publisher to include the story in the newspaper. Sometimes it needs big efforts. This is happened because not every time the editor feels that the topic is interesting enough for the readers. Sometimes, it can be because the topic isn’t relevant with the major focus of the newspaper.
Getting the Fund
This is also important because the newspaper is the funding source for the investigation. If this is impossible to be done, a journalist can try crowd funding. This is especially beneficial for freelancer journalist. Journalist should also be patient in doing the investigation since it can take a long time.
African Journalist Mr Ardo