Investigative Journalism It is difficult to define the term Investigative Journalism because in one way all stories require some kind of investigation on the part of the reporter. However, an investigative reporter is expected to dig deeper beyond the facts stated in the hard news
It is generally of two categories:
(i) Exposure of corruption in public matters/offices
(ii) Cases of solid community interest
Investigative reporting is different from other categories because
It is not done in methods but in circumstances
It is different in questions to be asked for the story
Sources are to be tapped
More time, resources & energy is required in investigating the story
Team investigation may spread over long intervals
Investigative reporting is heavily directed towards the revelation of bribery, graft, error or mere incompetence in public affairs and places. How would the investigative report grow and originate is hard to tell in advance since its prime characteristics, in the beginning, is hidden. It is not a news that a petty municipal employee has purchased a new imported car but how did he manage to do it?
In investigative journalism, one has to do little today, little tomorrow. Sometimes one finds he reaches nowhere but he has to keep track. Keen observation, tireless digging, patient effort persistence over weeks and even months, courage, determination and will to discover with missionary zeal are some of the essential qualifications required for successful investigative stories. It is difficult to define the term investigative journalism because in one way all stories require some kind of investigation on the part of the reporter.
However, an investigative reporter is expected to dig deeper beyond the facts stated in the hard news. An investigative journalist sees himself as the conscience of society pursuing corruption in high places without fear or favor. Considerations for an investigative report:
- It is reporter’s own work. It should be entirely your work in every possible circumstance.
- The subject of reporting should be such that it is of immense importance to the readers;
- There must not be any attempt to hide the truth from the people.
Investigative reporting made great leaps in western countries with the best example of all times being the Watergate scandal. Two young reporters of Washington Post, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein started investigating the arrest of four men for a burglary at Watergate, the Democratic Party’s national headquarters on June 17, 1972. The two reporters had no idea that their inquiry would culminate in the resignation of the President Richard Nixon. The remarkable thing about their investigation was that it kept to the highest standards of professional journalism.
The reporters did not start gunning for Nixon from the beginning. They merely pursued the burglary attempt and only later came up with startling facts linking the White House to it. “We did not go after the President, we went after the story,” the two journalists explained. But there have been several cases wherein Investigative Reporting It is difficult to define the term Investigative Journalism because in one way all stories require some kind of investigation on the part of the reporter.
However, an investigative reporter is expected to dig deeper beyond the facts stated in the hard news. Investigative stories did not follow the journalistic ethics and the newspapers had to face the ire of public and government both.
The Indian situation: In our country, investigative reporting started making a mark after the end of the internal emergency in 1977, particularly through the reports in The Indian Express Investigative reporters have brought to light a number of scandals which includes Bhagalpur blinding, A.R.Antulay trust case, Harshad Mehta’s securities scam, Bofors scandal, and more recently Tehelka exposure. There has been exposure of many more cases but their credibility has also been at stake.
The best kind of investigative reporting is that which keeps the public interest in mind. It may highlight an injustice, expose corrupt practices or unmask dishonest politicians and bureaucrats. Experience has been that unless an investigative reporter or a crusading reporter gets the support of the then judiciary, the executive or the legislature, he cannot bring his reports to a logical end.