Tips for investigative reporting

| February 20, 2017

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Investigative reporters in developing countries face many obstacles in their work, with no access to information laws or libel protection. Many also work with a small staff under great pressure to produce daily reports.

While it is difficult to make time for in-depth reporting, it is important to tackle big, complex stories, so that your audience can understand the issues affecting their lives and demand change where necessary. These include stories on issues such as corruption or illegal activity—or on large national or international problems.

Investigative stories take time and funding to complete. There are often funding sources available for investigative reporting, but, once you have a great story idea and funding, how do you get started? And how do you ensure that you produce a quality story?

The International Center for Journalists has developed a manual for investigative reporting, entitled “Ten Steps to Investigative Reporting.

The 10 steps include:

  • Broaden the definition of investigative reporting.
  • Build support for your story.
  • Build and maintain sources.
  • Educate yourself on the topic.
  • Look for documentation.
  • Get out of the office and observe.
  • Assess, assess, assess.
  • Verify and confirm.
  • Organize your story.
  • Make the time.

Read the full manual here: http://www.icfj.org/resources/10-steps-investigative-reporting-english