Welcome to investigativereporting,
While it is frequently simple to report on the news as it happens in public realms, often reporters are required to dig more deeply into stories and issues to uncover details and fact that are deliberately being obscured from public consumption. This is considered investigative reporting and can be an uphill but interesting path for the journalists that chase these stories. For many, this is the element that drives their passion towards the journalistic field. With a desire to inform and impact the world around them, reporters are repeatedly required to play the role of detective in revealing elements of a story in puzzle form before they can draw a conclusion that is a known truth.
This can be a tricky endeavour with numerous obstacles imposed to prevent the truth from being uncovered and thus thwarting the reporter from disclosing their tale until concrete proof is acquired. They’ll need to pursue many avenues in building the facts including interviewing satellite players in the story, reviewing legal documentation, and attending meetings or events. If a story is already in the public eye, this may alert those who wish to hide the details and perseverance, patience and a continuous alertness are base requirements for most reporters.
In governments, corporations and public figures, stories are often guarded for privacy, either to avoid exposure, to prevent outside interference, to suspend judgement and many other reasons. These are not necessarily sinister but sometimes simply personal, private or embarrassing for the parties involved. With the world of social media fast becoming the newest source of breaking news, the public can frequently exposed events that occur that are not actually of wide interest but can open the door to questions that create a deeper investigation into potential details that might actually uncover something of importance. More and more, we are inundated by too much information being considered news and the over stimulation has created an environment of sensationalism in the media. Things are reported in an effort to scoop other sources only to have to be retracted later when the facts are unverifiable or worse, disproved.
While these factors have muddied the waters of investigative reporting, it has made it an even more significant requirement in today’s society. The public needs to have a trusted source through which to attempt to disseminate the truth to maintain an ability to live without paranoia and to ensure faith in governments, commerce and other societal organizations which make conjecture and need to be held accountable. With the presence of investigative reporting of an ethical nature and the freedom of the press to expose information, it decreases the levels of corruption, abuse of power, criminal and unscrupulous behaviour.
Modern news can sometimes come across as more invested in entertaining the public than informing them and the fundamental tenets of objectivity and unbiased reporting have truly been disregarded more often with the rapid fire competing presence of bloggers, Twitter and trending topics and there is no regulating body to control the spewing of theoretic and conflicting opinions. Journalists have a duty to play the role of investigating all of these to confirm and report the truth and bring wrongdoing to light in hopes the existing system will then be able to correct the situation.