Investigative journalists are a staple of American society and culture. If you’ve ever seen a crime show, think of investigative journalists just like the criminal investigators – except they publicly report the information they collect rather than use it to solve a case.- an Investigative Journalist
Investigative journalism is not for the faint-hearted. This career path will make working late hours a regular occurrence, and is sure to net you some professional enemies in the long-run. Investigative journalists will often uncover information that other people don’t want to be found.
So, what exactly does an investigative journalist do? In this article, we’re going to go over the four main types of journalism that often see investigative journalist stories, and the usual requirements to become an investigative journalist.
The Four Main Types of Investigative Journalism
Investigative journalism is a very serious job, and one of the most important ones for our society. Investigative journalists work long hours to expose corruption, crime, and other serious issues. Just look at this article for example going over Pandora Papers – financial documents of the international elite. Depending on the topic, news companies will look to hire investigative reporters that specialize in one or more of these four categories of journalism:
- Political Journalism
Political Journalism is most likely the type of investigative journalism you’re most familiar with, as many popular news stories have surfaced as a result of this in recent years. Investigative political journalists work to ensure our political system is as fair and just as possible. This will often entail fact-checking political candidates, and reporting on any abuses of power they find when investigating politically powerful people.
- Print Journalism
This category of journalism can also include other types of journalism – like political journalism. Apart from printed newspapers, print journalism in recent years has been for less-pressing matters. Nowadays, any major story uncovered through investigative journalism will be posted online before any newspaper, magazine, or book can publish it.
- International Journalism
Probably the most exciting, and also most dangerous form of investigative journalism, is found in international journalism. International investigative journalists are responsible for uncovering and reporting major political stories across the globe.
Most notably, The International Consortium of Investigative, is an independent group consisting of 280 investigative journalists spanning across 100 countries. Founded in 1997 by an American Journalist by the name of Charles Lewis, the ICIJ set out to cover global issues that were not being reported.
- Broadcast Journalism
Broadcast journalism refers to the team of individuals behind reporting the breaking stories coming in from investigative journalists. The goal of this form of journalism is to broadcast a breaking story as quickly as possible, to as many forms of media as possible.
So, many investigative journalists will see their work on major TV news networks such as CNN, Fox, and MSNBC.
What It Takes to Become an Investigative Journalist
Investigative journalism is no walk in the park. It is a job that takes up countless hours of one’s life and will net you some enemies depending on the area of the world you’re reporting from/on.
The road to pursuing this career will start with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a similar field like political science, English, or communication. While obtaining your bachelor’s, you’ll want to get some working experience at the same time. For example, you could enter your articles into investigative journalist competitions, or take part in extracurricular workshops and courses to further improve your writing.
Once you have some work to show for yourself, you’ll want to compile your most prominent and outstanding articles into a portfolio. This portfolio will be used in all your job applications, as it will give your potential employers an idea of how you write.
Wrapping It Up
Investigative journalists work around the clock to pursue leads and uncover stories that the general public does not know about. They provide a great service to society, as investigative journalists (such as the ICIJ) have been responsible for exposing some of the largest corruption plots and international law violations in recent history.
If you are looking for a competitive, world-changing, and potentially dangerous job, then you may just want to consider pursuing a career in investigative journalism.