The media are at their watchdog best when they go beyond routine reporting to bring to light underhand dealings and clandestine schemes calculated to benefit the plotters to the disadvantage of the great majority. This happens only when the media turn to the genre of journalism known as investigative reporting.
Despite its crucial role in the democratisation of a nation and as a valuable tool for public policy reform, our country still lacks an entrenched culture of hard-nosed, muckraking journalism. Most aspiring investigative reporters are forced to grope in the dark and learn the nuts and bolts of the trade by trial and error in the field. As a result, many have churned out half-baked stories in the name of investigative reporting and, quite often, with serious legal consequences for them and their media organisations.
Therefore, it is important that anyone venturing into this kind of reporting understands its distinguishing characteristics as well as its potential consequences for the subject of investigation, public policy makers, society as a whole, and the reporter and his or her organisation.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Understand investigative journalism and the process involved in this form of reporting
- Plan and develop an investigative report as part of the training
- Recognise the boundary separating constitutionally protected writing from legally actionable defamation
This course is for you if
- You’re an aspiring investigative journalist or columnist – whether a student or journalist in transition – who wants to learn the responsibilities, techniques and art of investigative writing.
- You are with or without publishing experience and want to write with power and clarity.
What you will learn
- Defining Investigative Journalism
- What to Investigate
- Origination of Investigative Story Ideas
- Planning the Investigation
- The Investigative Tools
- The Investigative Process
- Knowing How Things Work
- The Investigative Reporter: Essential Characteristics
- Producing the Story
- Ethical Issues in Investigative Reporting
- Investigative Reporters and The Law
- Protecting Yourself