“The Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have
to bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”
– US Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

A group of journalists covering events in Africa recently came up with a practical description of investigative journalism, also known in some circles as enterprise reporting. Its tenets are simple and reach back to the very beginning of the United States. Here some elements for what an effective investigative report will contain:
An original, proactive process that digs deeply into an issue or topic of public interest
New information or putting known information together to produce new insights
Multi-sourced, using more resources and demanding team-working and time
Revealing hidden information or uncovering issues surrounded by silence
Looking beyond individuals at fault to the systems and processes that allow abuses to happen
Bearing witness, and investigating ideas as well as facts and events
Providing nuanced context and explaining not only what, but why
Not always about bad news, and not necessarily requiring undercover techniques – though it often is, and sometimes does.
– Investigative Journalism Manual
Konrad Adenauer Siftung
Copyright 2010

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