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Investigative Reporting: The Knight of Modern Journalism


Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. Most investigative journalism is done by newspapers, wire services and freelance journalists. Practitioners sometimes use the terms “watchdog journalism” or “accountability reporting.”

What is Investigative journalism all about?

Investigative journalism is mainly a combination of some or all of the following:

  • Research into social and legal issues.
  • Analysis of documents such as legal paperwork, public records and financial records.
  • Multiple in-depth interviews, both with on-the-record-sources and with anonymous sources.
  • Research into technical details and physical investigation of technical equipment.
  • Data mining.
  • Research through subscription-based resources such as LexisNexis.
  • Research carried out over the course of weeks, months or even years.

How is it different from other forms of journalism?

A piece of investigative journalism doesn’t read like a regular news story following the five W’s and one H. It also doesn’t necessarily need to be as concise or use as crisp a language. While there are no hard and fast rules to writing an investigative piece, tone and language being left up to the individual’s writing style, the in-depth, analytical nature of investigative journalism gives it some characteristics that are mostly consistent. Some major ones being:

  • Long-form articles.
  • Use of infographics or tables and charts.
  • Heavy on either statistics or quotes

And even though these features aren’t always present, the in-depth nature of investigative journalism tends to make the pieces sway in those directions.

What does the future hold?

In an age where sensationalism is rampant and yellow news is making its resurgence, investigative journalism has become a rare but highly coveted skill and product. With newer technologies having been developed over the years, data journalism has also come up as a niche form of investigative journalism that depends on coding and technical skill as well as journalistic thinking and analytical skill.

Preserving the integrity of journalism in future years will require the focus of print and television reporting to shift to investigative stories. This will ensure that partisan views need to be backed up facts and figures and sensationalism is worked out storytelling with the same. In order to ensure this, the industry needs skilled resources trained in journalism from some of the best educational institutes that prepare them to face the industry head on. NSHM Knowledge Campus does just that which earns it the coveted laurel of being the Best Educational Institution in Eastern India. To explore courses in journalism offered at NSHM click here