Some of the secrets of investigative journalism
In an article for The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists blog, Bill Birnbauer recently described some of the useful techniques and tools of investigative journalism, including this gem:“Be annoying and don’t give up”.
Birnbauer, a Public Interest Journalism Foundation board member and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Monash University, also shared some of his other methdology, including:
• Audio recording everything and doing his own transcribing “because it is easy to miss things the first time and you can listen for hesitations that may signify lies. Often what seems irrelevant at the time of recording later becomes significant.”
• Collecting as many documents from as many places as possible using Freedom of Information, annual reports, transcripts, court records, emails, reports etc. “They are all parts of a jigsaw,” he says.
• Building a detailed chronology.
• Establishing who are the friends and enemies of the person/ group under investigation is crucial. He says: “Friends may convince them to talk to you or give you some information; enemies have their own motivations. Knowing who both are and differentiating them makes it possible to play one off against the other.”
You can read the full article here.