The Power Of Investigative Journalism

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | February 25, 2014

Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth, bringing to light hidden facts. With investigative journalism, the goals is to expose the truth through fact-based, ethical storytelling.


Abuses of power are often shrouded in secrecy. Similarly, corrupt dealings tend to operate in the dark. That’s why it takes more than just reporting but Sherlock Holmes like investigation to get to the truth of matters.

According to David Kaplan, Executive Director of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, investigative journalism is the systematic, in depth inquiry of matter of public concern. It’s a scientific method.

“It often focuses on issues of public accountability and corruption. It often uses public records, documents, datasets and really approaches journalisms using the scientific method,” he said. “It’s like an honest detective or public prosecutor putting a case together.”

A careful, systematic approach which characterizes investigative journalism makes it different from beat reporting, he said.

New Tech Tools Transform Investigative Journalism
Kaplan said that new tech tools are having a transformative impact on investigative journalism. He referred to new tech tool as the great equalizer, allowing investigative journalists access to more informative than before.

“We can do so much more, so quickly. We have access to data and documents and people that we never have had before. It would take weeks to get information that we can now get in minutes.”

He said that technology is allowing investigative journalists who always have to work under pressure with limited resources to get access to information in a more faster manner.

“Technology is allowing us to get so much more information, to get contact with our colleagues around the world with colleagues around the world to help us on stories. It’s really been transformative,” he said.

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