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Investigative Journalism by Neal J Daniels

With a background in computer science, I’ve dived into journalism as communication and education is very close to my heart. I’m also a dad, and my family is essential to me, and I have a ton of projects around the house. Enjoying good food and wine and beer whenever I find the time.


Journalism is a way to share relevant information with the world. Yet, there is a layer of mystery left in the dark, which is usually uncovered and explored by someone who craves answers. The thrilling feeling that you can unsolve a tangled enigma or be the light in a dark lie is something that every investigative journalist strives for every moment as they chase a story. That is what I try to do at


 “Good journalism should challenge people, not just mindlessly amuse them.” -Carl Bernstein


What do you mean by investigative journalism?

Journalism is a crucial element of a democratic civilization. It provides the public with valuable pieces of information and news from the world around them.

Investigative journalism is a journalism style in which journalists profoundly examine a particular matter of interest; this can involve dangerous crimes, political exploitation, or a large organization’s illegal activities.

Investigative journalism is a kind of journalism that seeks to identify accurate information hidden from the public interest, which usually affects the general population directly.

An investigative journalist can get committed to a case for months or even years while investigating and building a comprehensive report. Conceivably no other form of journalism is more prominent than investigative reporting.

Investigative journalism glows a stream of light into the world’s most hidden places and brings those involved liable, responsible, and held accountable for their actions.


What is the purpose of investigative journalism?

Investigative journalism conveys the truth about people who are commonly involved in powerful institutions, such as the government or big organizations trying to hold their illegal actions a secret.

The primary aim of investigative journalism is to prove such acts so that those concerned can be held responsible. Investigative journalism is a sort of journalism that exposes what others don’t want to be shown.

An investigative journalist dives profoundly into a story that is not usually included in our daily news. One of the principal purposes of investigative journalism is to drive for a change.

Investigative journalism is usually a more prolonged process than the general news that we see advertised every day. This is generally because investigative journalism requires extensive and complex research with actual evidence of the raised case.

“Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.” -Henry Grunwald

What makes a good investigative story?

Unfortunately, investigative journalism can often turn into spoiled, slightly confused, and even tricky read articles.

Some people might even say that the best written investigative journalism is a little dull, yet the worst ones are incredibly impossible to understand.

The saddest part is that if a story is not well put together, the overall investigation may produce weak or no impact at all, meaning that months or years of intricate investigative work would be completely wasted and useless.

After an investigative journalist gathers all the hard work collected during the investigation process, it will come a time that all of that valuable information will need to be placed together. And here is where the line between an epic work will be at the test. If presented well, this type of journalism can potentially make a massive impact globally, but it would be left entirely unnoticed if poorly shown.

An investigative journalist’s organization is crucial in creating a well-written piece that will capture every important detail and leave no room for confusion. Another critical element that must not be forgotten is organizing the story chronologically; this will help understand complex stories more clearly.

There are a few steps that can help to create a better and more understandable to investigate journalism story; those include:

The title is critical

People tend to read an article or watch a documentary that strikes their attention. When it comes to investigative journalism, engaging your audience as much as providing them with valuable information is just as important.

The title should reflect the story you are about to present, but it’s also vital to pick a title that screams for attention.

Be selective with your research

During an investigation to present on your investigative piece, it is normal to end up with more material than you would like. While it might be tempting to throw all this information to your audience, it is essential to look at the story from their perspective.

Will they understand the story? Are those extra words critical, or will they ruin a great story?

When choosing the parts of the research that you will be using, focus on the information that emphasizes the story. Sometimes less is more.

Be clear and leave no doubts

It is usual for stories to leave readers with doubts, which you dont want to happen when you present an investigation. You should be clear when portraying your research. Saying that someone is a victim doesn’t really explain why, which is why so it’s imperative to have all the facts at the reader’s display.

Simplify things to a clear perspective is the best way to get your point across without leaving many questions behind.

Present your story in chronological order

When writing an investigative story, it’s essential to keep a sequence of events in order. Jumping back and forth can make your readers incredibly confused.

One method that can help you set this in place is by remembering that every story has a beginning, middle, and end; with that in mind, place the story’s events to create an easily understood outline for your readers.

The chronological system is usually the most reliable way to present a multifaceted investigative story.

Don’t forget about introductions

Not every story will be about just people. Somethings places and things also play a huge factor in an investigation. Remember that every person or thing involved in your story needs to be introduced and explain their involvement in developing the story.

Some writers tend to hold to a critical element of the story as a surprise to the audience. However, this can have opposite results when applied in investigated journalism.

When new information or characters are introduced to the story, their connection with the investigation should be clarified. Some readers can feel confused if you hold on to a vital piece of the puzzle to the middle part of your story and then fail to fit the pieces together.

Don’t use complicated words

Choosing how to introduce a story containing a lot of research is essential to keep your readers well informed and confused. Still, another crucial element to achieving this is to use simple language.

Too often, we believe that applying tricky words somehow boosts our writing skills, but more often than not, that is not the case. When you are trying to present a complicated story to your readers, avoiding complicating the reading experience should be one of your aims.

Avoid unnecessary elements, such as fluff content, passive voice, and adverbs. And use more ofter verbs, nouns, and shorter sentences to engage your readers while allowing them to absorb the story more clearly.

Summarize at the end

Even though some people might believe that the end of a story is not as important as the beginning and middle, a strong ending will only amplify the hard work that you have already invested in your story. The end will help your readers refresh their perspective, especially if we are talking about a large piece.

It would help if you summarized everything that you mentioned in your story while making it short. So focusing on the major events is always the best approach to finalize any story.

What is the work of an investigative journalist?

Investigative journalism is a journalism style in which journalists profoundly investigate a specific topic. Usually, they investigate crimes, corruption, or any illegal action. This type of journalism is more extensive and long-lasting compared to the regular news that we witness daily.

An investigating journalist’s job is to dwell in a complicated situation and unveil every layer of mystery that can lead to a source of corruption or crime. While performing the investigation for their story, and investigated journalist will conduct complex and extensive research that will gather evidence, doing background checks any verifying facts and statements. Usually, this involves finding documents and leading a thorough and in-depth investigation of someone else’s life or/and business.

How do investigative journalists get information?

In many cases, journalists that work in investigative journalism already have their own sources. One of the most common ways that a journalist gets information is by talking to people. They lead many interviews and are driven by asking questions.

Their research and investigation tend to rely on many sources, which will they after verifying each lead’s credibility.

It’s also common for a journalist to contact big organizations that may be related to their investigation. A good investigated story will usually be a combination of research, networking, and cold calling. The journalist will search for any point of information, get involved in any events linked to their story, and make a lot of cold calling in an attempt to find any leads.

The search for evidence and having access to documents that support the investigation is also a vital part of an investigative journalist’s job. It’s a long and complex process that includes interviewing people and finding every piece of a bigger puzzle. Once all the information is collected, it’s also part of their job to connect all the dots, leading to more investigation upon this to verify if their findings are correct.

My heroes: Who is the best investigative journalist?

Many names helped change history in the information world and brought to life stories that caused us to be emotional and scream for justice. An investigative journalist can cause waves in today’s world because people are more willing to change and speak up for what they believe. The job of an investigative journalist is to open the door to change.

Here are just the top five investigative journalists that were responsible for some of those changes:

*          David Rose

His remarkable works include major issues such as human rights, justice failures, the death penalty, racism, politics, and climate change refusal.

*          Paul Lewis

Paul Lewis is best known for his incredible and well deserved award-winning investigation of the death of Ian Tomlinson.

*          Andrew Norfolk

He was well known for his reporting on the Rotherham child sexual exploitation shame in 2011 and other child sexual exploitation cases. He won the Paul Foot Award as well as the Orwell Prize for his incredible work. He was also elected the Journalist of the Year in 2014.

*          Heather Brooke

Heather Brooke aided to reveal the 2009 MPs expenses scandal in the United Kingdom, which ended in the resignation of House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin and many MPs standing down during the 2010 general election.

*          Stephen Grey

Stephen Grey, a British investigative journalist, is best remembered for exposing details of the CIA’s program of ‘extraordinary rendition.’ He has also proclaimed extensively from the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.



Investigated Journalism is not only another type of journalism but a revolution of information. Without it, many of the unfairness and crimes wouldn’t be exposed, and the responsibility of such actions wouldn’t be held accountable. The bravery and boldness of each person who decided to unveil the hidden truths can change the way that we see the world. They envoke change and ultimately make the world a greater place. Investigated journalism is the light in the dark paths of injustice.

For that reason I hope you’ll enjoy reading

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