An investigative report reveals new findings based on the work and research of the reporter. Here are tips from an ICFJ Anywhere online course to get you started.
10 QUICK TIPS ON INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
- Do some preliminary research before launching an investigation or even pitching it to your editor.
- Know the laws a) so you don’t break them and b) to know how to use them to your benefit.
- Support your work with documents when possible. Think about what documents you need and how you can obtain them.
- Don’t rush into interviews. Get as much information as you can first, so you can ask intelligent questions when you do get the interview and so you will be ready to challenge evasive answers.
- Fact-check everything – from documents to information obtained through sources.
- Avoid undercover investigations and ambush interviews unless absolutely necessary.
- Always allow the subject of your investigation a fair chance to respond.
- Don’t be chained to your story in the face of evidence to the contrary. If you find that your hypothesis is wrong, be prepared to shift gears and change your story.
- Keep in touch with your sources on a regular basis
- Follow-up on stories