Every day news found in tabliod and broadsheet papers basically covers stories that the public are already aware about. Investigative Journalism on the other hand is seen 'off diary'. An investigative journalist sets their own agenda that matches the audience of the publication.
An Investigative Journalist is basically awkward, difficult and challenging. They want to defend their position and challenge a particular issue. It is similar to Gonzo Journalism, where the journalist brings their own emotions to provide context to the issue. Documentaries like Supersize Me, with Morgan Spurlock, are basically investigative journalism.
With Investigative Journalism you must avoid
- Malice, you can easily damage a company or institution.
- Personal avenge
- Conflict of interest
With conflict of interest it may be difficult to involve multiple personal interests that might conflict others. For example the channel 4 anchor, Jon Snow, argues that if he is to wear a poppy it is less likely that he would want to write a story about the military.
All investigations are based on 'serious' issues within public interest.
The defences of public interest test:
- Public safety
An example of how investigative journalism is clearly in the public interest is the Thalidomide case. Harry Evans, editor of the Sunday Times turned this case to the insight team. The campaign arguing that the toxic medicine peddled by big drug companies was in fact a dangerous drug given to pregnant women that affected their unborn babies. The insight team gathered all the research and eventually the drug companies admitted that they knew about the issues linked to the drug and the readers of the Sunday Times were compensated.
Miscarriage of Justice
A miscarriage of justice primarily is the conviction of a person for a crime they didn't do.
The 'Birmingham 6' and the 'Guildford 4' are examples of cases where people were proven guilty to a crime they did not commit. The police tortured the offenders to admit to a crime they hadn't committed. This was when the Justice system colluded with the police.
The CCRC- criminal cases review commissions was set up to review the cases of those that claimed they were innocent. Some offenders in prisons believe that they have been wrongly convicted. The CCRC is able to review these cases however it isn't very efficent. Its hard to battle with the Justice System because for somebody to prove they were wrongly convicted would suggest that the Justice system isn't fair. Alongside this there is the INUK, the innocence project. This allows offenders to write to the project to convice them to take up their cases.