5 tips to achieve award-worthy investigative journalism
Clare Baldwin spoke at News Xchange about her extraordinary experience in telling a Pulitzer Prize-winning story. What are the best tips that journalists can learn, allowing them to investigate, uncover and reveal stories at their best?
All eyes were on Reuters special correspondent Clare Baldwin at News Xchange as she spoke of the astonishing results in her investigative project Duterte’s War. Clare gave an honest and fascinating account of how her team were able to uncover records which led to justice for the victims. They won a Pulitzer Prize for their persistence in exposing the killing campaign behind Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs which began in 2016.
In their mission to find the truth, the Duterte’s War team encountered a number of difficulties with months of risky reporting in slums and hostile police stations. The team revealed how police are conducting the drug crackdown, finding evidence in the polices’ own data and records; using local video content such as CCTV; and tracking a squad who were responsible, eventually leading them to identify the victims.
As Clare herself said on stage, “how do you tell a story that’s ongoing?” The actions, conflict and sense of fear would continue after the story is published. Investigative journalism can provide situations that initially feel impossible. There is no official place to start and no promised solution or ending that feels complete.
Here are some key investigative tips to enhance your ability to tell remarkable and notable stories:
Get editors to invest in your story
Time and money are precious so news businesses will want the story to be put out into the world quickly, but it’s important not to rush. Convince editors how important it is for the story to be told well and what could be lost if it was released too early.
Clare and her team waited for crime records to be checked over a long period of time. In doing so, they saw the numbers in data increase each month which provided perfect correlation with their suspected pattern.
Build a strong, dedicated network
Learn from the best
Prepare for sensitive interviews
Allow your story to find its own way