In “ The Reporter's Handbook: An Investigator's Guide to Documents and Techniques ,” Steve Weinberg defined it as:
“ Reporting, through one's own initiative and work product, matters of importance to readers, viewers or listeners. In many cases, the subjects of the reporting wish the matters under scrutiny to remain undisclosed.”
"When matters of fundamental importance surface in the news, they cannot be treated as secular mysteries and left unexplained. They must be accounted for, must be rendered sensible. … We insist that the economy and the polity be explicable: a domain where someone is in control, or natural laws are being obeyed, or that despite all the bad news of the moment, the signs in the headlines augur well for the future."
“ The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decision, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”
Journalists at the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) wrote:
“ Information and communication technology has made investigative journalism both simpler and more complex, easier but also harder. It has compelled us to adapt and innovate, to take advantage of what the technology has to offer without being blinded by its glitz.”
In 1880 Henry Demarest Lloyd published a series of articles exposing corruption in business and politics. This included The Story of a Great Monopoly (1881), Making Bread Dear (1883) and Lords of Industry (1884). Lloyd has been described as the first American investigative journalist.
Nellie Bly, an 18-year-old reporter with the Pittsburgh Dispatch, was another important pioneer in American investigative journalism. For example, she worked in a Pittsburgh factory to investigate child labor, low wages and unsafe working conditions. She used undercover work to write about housing conditions and the state of patients in a New York asylum.
Invest in proper preparation before you sit down to write the story. Write a short abstract with the major points you want to make. Construct a detailed outline. Identify your best quotes. Experiment with leads.
A good investigative story combines powerful statements and telling examples. If you can’t produce both – a nut graph that summarizes your findings, and clear, telling illustrations – you likely have to do more reporting.
Whatever your medium, you must consider and anticipate your readers’ full experience with your story. Use your medium’s other tools – photographs, graphics, audio – to enhance that experience and to lift some of the burden from your words.
Simplicity and clarity are eternal virtues. Minimize your use of numbers, jargon and bureaucratese. The story’s weight should lie in the facts, not in your word choices.
Our republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know what’s right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. … The power to mold the future of the republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.
Every issue of the paper presents an opportunity and a duty to say something courageous and true.