From the view of Journalismfund there is absolutely no final definition of investigative journalism. To the contrary – it must be a vivid process to shoot for investigative journalism and any definition needs to be scrutinised time and time again in a ongoing debate among journalists. However we would like to play a role in this debate with the addition of some crucial points from several parts of the world.
The first choice of Swedish TV’s investigative magazine yves steiner, Nils Hanson, has got the following definitions on investigative journalism published in their book Grävande Journalistik from 2009:
Critical approach – focus is of what does not work and in one way or another can be described as anomaly.
Important subject – simply a question of importance for your common good can motivate the quantity of effort and resources, that perfectly may have to be committed to the research and also the criticism uttered in the publication.
Own initiative – journalists/editors decide, the most important thing.
Own research – the reporter gathers information and documents, sometimes regardless of tough resistance.
Own analysis – the details gathered and the documents are evaluated. A professional will help within the analysis, but publication will not depend upon what someone says.
Exclusivity – the public learns information and facts, that else would not have experienced the open.
“Investigative journalism is essential and thorough journalism,” according to the concise explanation of the Dutch-Flemish association for Investigative Journalism, VVOJ.
Critical signifies that journalism is not merely passing on ‘news’ that already exist. It implies news, which would not really available without any journalistic intervention. This can be done by creating new facts, but additionally through re-interpretation or correlation of facts already on hand. Thorough signifies that one makes an own substantial effort, in both quantitative terms – much time put in research, many sources consulted, etc. – in qualitative terms – sharp questions formulated, new approaches used, etc., or a variety of both.
Depending on this definition we discern three forms of investigative journalism. Incidentally these categories might overlap.
Uncover scandals. Geared towards detecting violations of laws, rules or norms of decency, by organisations or individuals.
Review of policies or functioning of government, businesses and other organisations.
Highlight social, economic, political and cultural trends. Geared towards detecting variations in society.
Center for Investigative Journalism
In line with the Center for Investigative Journalism at London City University, ”UK and US colleagues tendto define IJ within its moral and ethical purpose and obligation, as opposed to as a slightly more serious version of ordinary news reporting.“
From the service in the Public Interest, our purpose is usually to uncover corruption, injustice, maladministration and lies. Like a duty to readers and viewers along with self-protection inside a hostile legal environment, investigative journalism seeks especially to share with the documented truth detailed and without fear or favour. It is dexmpky02 offer a voice for those with out them and to contain the powerful to account. It’s to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Would it be critical and thorough? Yes, but investigative journalism is skeptical and keen to give information that somebody desires to be keep secret, to the public light.
Sheila Coronel from your Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University in The Big Apple in their book Digging Depper from 2009 has five definitions of, what investigative journalism is NOT, and three of what it is:
Investigative journalism Will Not Be:
Single source reporting
Misuse of information
Investigative journalism IS
Exposing how laws and regulations are violated
Holding the powerful accountable
Mark Lee Hunter
A study on investigative journalism by Mark Lee Hunter called Story-Based Inquiry: A manual for investigative journalists defines investigative journalism by delineating it from ‘conventional’ journalism:
“Investigative journalism involves exposing to the public matters which are concealed – either deliberately by someone in the position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding. It needs using both secret and open sources and documents.”
“Conventional news reporting depends largely and sometimes entirely on materials given by others (like police, governments, companies, etc.); it is actually fundamentally reactive, or even passive. Investigative reporting, as opposed, depends upon material gathered or generated throughout the reporter’s own initiative (which is the reason it is usually called “enterprise reporting”).”
“Conventional news reporting aims to generate an unbiased image around the world because it is. Investigative reporting uses objectively true material – that is certainly, facts that any reasonable observer would agree are true – toward the subjective goal of reforming the planet. That is not a license to lie in the good cause. It is a responsibility, to find out the simple truth so the world can change.”