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From the look at Journalismfund there is absolutely no final concise explanation of investigative journalism. On the contrary - it ought to be a vivid process to strive for investigative journalism and then any definition has to be scrutinised time and time again within an ongoing debate among journalists. However we would like to contribute to this debate by adding some crucial points from several parts of the world.

Nils Hanson

The leader of Swedish TV's investigative magazine yves steiner, Nils Hanson, has the following definitions on investigative journalism published in his book Grävande Journalistik from 2009:

Critical approach - focus is on what fails to work as well as in one method or another can be defined as anomaly.

Important subject - just a question of importance for the common good can motivate the amount of effort and resources, that well may have to be committed to the investigation plus the criticism uttered in the publication.

Own initiative - journalists/editors decide, what is important.

Own research - the reporter gathers information and documents, sometimes regardless of tough resistance.

Own analysis - the information gathered and the documents are evaluated. An authority can assist inside the analysis, but publication will not rely on what someone says.

Exclusivity - the public learns important info, that else would not have been in the open.


“Investigative journalism is vital and thorough journalism,” in accordance with the concept of the Dutch-Flemish association for Investigative Journalism, VVOJ.

Critical ensures that journalism is just not merely passing on ‘news’ that already exist. It implies news, which would not available with no journalistic intervention. This can be accomplished by creating new facts, and also through re-interpretation or correlation of facts already available. Thorough means that one makes an own substantial effort, in either quantitative terms - enough time put in research, many sources consulted, etc. - in qualitative terms - sharp questions formulated, new approaches used, etc., or a mix of both.

According to this definition we discern three forms of investigative journalism. Incidentally these categories might overlap.

Uncover scandals. Targeted at detecting violations of laws, rules or norms of decency, by organisations or individuals.

Article on policies or functioning of government, businesses and also other organisations.

Highlight social, economic, political and cultural trends. Geared towards detecting modifications in society.

Center for Investigative Journalism

Based on the Center for Investigative Journalism at London City University, ”UK and US colleagues tendto define IJ in its moral and ethical purpose and obligation, as opposed to being a a little more serious version of ordinary news reporting.“

From the service of your Public Interest, our purpose is always to uncover corruption, injustice, maladministration and lies. Being a duty to readers and viewers in addition to self-protection within a hostile legal environment, investigative journalism seeks above all to share with the documented truth in depth and without fear or favour. It is actually dexmpky02 give a voice for people without one as well as support 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 bring information that someone wants to be keep secret, in the public light.

Sheila Coronel through the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University in New York in the book Digging Depper from 2009 has five definitions of, what investigative journalism is NOT, and three of what exactly it is:

Investigative journalism IS NOT:

Daily reporting

Leak journalism

Single source reporting

Misuse of data

Paparazzi journalism

Investigative journalism IS

Watchdog journalism

Exposing how legal guidelines are violated

Holding the powerful accountable

Mark Lee Hunter

A report 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 on the public matters that happen to be concealed - either deliberately by someone within a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding. It will require using both secret and open sources and documents."

"Conventional news reporting depends largely and often entirely on materials provided by others (for example police, governments, companies, etc.); it is fundamentally reactive, otherwise passive. Investigative reporting, in comparison, depends on material gathered or generated through the reporter’s own initiative (this is why it is usually called “enterprise reporting”)."

"Conventional news reporting aims to create an objective image around the world since 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 globe. That is not just a license to lie inside a good cause. This is a responsibility, to find out the reality so that the world may change."

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