This important book defines what investigative reporting is and what qualities it requires. Drawing on the experience of many well-known journalists in the field, the author identifies the skills, common factors and special circumstances involved in a wide variety of investigations. It examines how opportunities for investigations can be found and pursued, how informants can be persuaded to yield needed information and how and where this information can be checked. It also stresses the dangers and legal constraints that have to be contended with and shows real life examples such as the Cook Report formula, the Jonathan Aitken investigation and the Birmingham Six story.
David Spark, himself a freelance writer of wide experience, examines how opportunities for investigations can be found and pursued, how informants can be persuaded to yield needed information and how and where this information can be checked. He also stresses the dangers and legal constraints that have to be contended with and shows investigators at work in two classic inquiries:
· The mysterious weekend spent in Paris by Jonathan Aitken, then Minister of Defence Procurement
· The career of masterspy Kim Philby
Investigative Reporting looks at such fields for inquiry as company frauds (including those of Robert Maxwell), consumer complaints, crime, police malpractice, the intelligence services, local government and corruption in Parliament and in overseas and international bodies.
The author believes that the conclusions that emerge from this far-reaching survey are of value not only in investigative journalism, but to practitioners in all branches of reporting.
Table of Contents
What is investigative reporting?; The making of an investigative reporter; Insight and the development of techniques; Finding the stories; Pursuing inquiries I: Doing it right; Pursuing inquiries II: Getting it right; Finding the people; Dealing with documents; Getting people to talk; Writing it: problems and pitfalls; Two classic investigations; Looking into companies; The Maxwell investigations; Social and consumer affairs; Crime; Trail of the bent coppers; Security and intelligence; Investigating local government; Sleaze; Cruelty and corruption: investigating abroad; Books for further reading; People who helped with this book; Council information open to public view; Press Complaints Commission - Code of Practice
'A sensible and well-researched handbook which breaks new ground and pretty well covers the waterfront.'
David Leigh, British Journalism Review