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Getting Started in Investigative Journalism

15 posts

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Working with Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers – insiders who expose corrupt or illegal activities – are an important source of information for journalists everywhere. From their position inside governments, companies, and other organizations, they can provide crucial leads, evidence, and sometimes “smoking guns” that expose everything from fraud and waste to criminal conspiracies and war crimes. It’s important for journalists […]

Getting Started in Investigative Journalism Methodology

Tips For Backgrounding Unknown Subjects in Time-Critical Situations

Investigative projects are often likened to marathons. But, every now and then, watchdog reporters need to sprint. In a recent IRE23 conference session, experts shared tips on how to unearth background facts about little-known people on short notice. 

Guide Resource

A Journalist’s Guide to Avoiding Lawsuits and Other Legal Dangers

The practice of independent journalism is facing enormous challenges, ranging from authoritarian regimes implementing regressive laws that stifle speech to journalists being unable to make a living from their work. In order to meet those challenges, journalists can benefit from understanding the protections provided by international law.

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Tips for Building a Database for Investigations

Whether investigating human rights abuses, money laundering, or even public officials’ conflicts of interests, reporters are increasingly developing their own databases for investigative projects. Here are a series of tips drawn from the experiences of a number of international journalists and from the author’s personal experience gathering and creating data sets for investigative stories.

Resource Tipsheet

Investigative Journalism Manuals

Investigative Journalism Data Journalism Teaching and Training Other Useful Guides Spanish Only Looking for tips, tools, and tutorials? The below guides focus on investigative journalism and provide case studies and examples from around the world. Most are available for free, unless indicated otherwise. You can also find our guide to the guides in Chinese and […]

Guide Resource

GIJN’s Guide to Citizen Investigations

Citizens can investigate, and they do — all over the world. Today we’re launching a new GIJN guide to help non-journalists investigate even more. It’s full of techniques used by investigative journalists that will be helpful to citizen investigators, too. These include searching the internet, finding out who owns corporations, investigating politicians, and much more.

Resource Tipsheet

Perspectives on Interviewing Techniques

Advice on the subject of interviewing comes in many flavors — not only for investigative journalists, but for police officers, employers, lawyers, social workers, and others. What’s clear is that the interview is one of the most trusted and effective tools in the investigator’s toolbox. GIJN has prepared a sampling, mainly from journalists, but with […]

Resource Tipsheet

Editing and Managing

Crafting Investigative Reportage Into Dramatic Narratives, by Vinod K Jose, Executive Editor of The Caravan, India’s premier magazine for narrative and investigatory journalism. This GIJC19 presentation discusses “ideation,” editorial entry points and reportorial conduct. Also see PowerPoint that includes examples. Using Story-Based Inquiry to Focus, Manage and Build was the topic at GIJC17 for Mark […]

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FOIA This! — Digging Out Government Spending

Tracking down local government expenses is a recurrent theme for many successful freedom of information requests. Some recent examples suggest that quite a variety of information is potentially available — about credit card charges, salaries, retirement parties, and even costs of leak investigations. Have a great story you developed using a FOI/RTI request? Send it to us at freeinfo@email.gwu.edu. We’re currently looking for examples regarding immigration.

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Guides to Finding Expert Sources

Looking for sources? Finding experts in a particular field is a good place to start for many stories. GIJN took a look at various guides to expert sources. After cutting those that are outdated, too specialized, or tools of the PR industry, we found a handful worth consulting. Here are six services with functioning, reliable databases used by journalists searching for expert sources.

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What Is Investigative Journalism?

For a look at current trends, see also The Future of Investigative Journalism. While definitions of investigative reporting vary, among professional journalism groups there is broad agreement of its major components: systematic, in-depth, and original research and reporting, often involving the unearthing of secrets. Others note that its practice often involves heavy use of public […]

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Freedom of Information Laws

A few of the best resources for journalists seeking to file records requests in countries with laws governing access to information.