Investigative reporting

One of the goals of the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization is to educate journalists in the latest reporting techniques. IRE provides hundreds of workshops each year. Reporters, editors and sometimes entire newsrooms learn investigative techniques such as tracking political funds, online hoaxes and crime. The IRE Resource Center is a research library with more than 25,000 investigative stories from both print and broadcast news organizations. There are a number of Tip Sheets under Story Packs on the website. Tip Sheets pertain to cops and courts, local government, education, environment, non-profits, immigration, aviation and others.

Here are student assignments on three levels:

Flashlight: Consider the topics under Covering Local Government Story Packs on the IRE Resource Center website. Discuss and present what your group might consider in this scenario: Covering a story about voting in local elections, what might a reporter consider to make sure readers get a more in-depth story?

Spotlight: Visit the Covering the Environment Story Packs on the IRE Resource Center website. What issues in environmental news might merit more investigative work? Discuss how you might cover these within your community? How could you engage the whole community in the reporting?

Searchlight: Either in groups or individually, visit the IRE Resource Center website. Consider stories you might write in the future. How you might take an investigative approach to that story. Can any story become an investigative story? What challenges might you have to overcome in the investigative process? Record your thoughts and present this to the class.