Notes from An Alien

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Investigative Journalists Are Storytellers, Too…

What is an Investigative Journalist?

One set of broad identifiers is on the JournalismFund.EU site:

  • Critical approach – focus is on what does not work and in one way or another can be described as anomaly.
  • Important subject – only a question of importance for the common good can motivate the amount of effort and resources, that very well may have to be invested in the research as well as the criticism uttered in the publication.
  • Own initiative – journalists/editors decide, what is important.
  • Own research – the reporter gathers information and documents, sometimes in spite of tough resistance.
  • Own analysis – the information gathered and the documents are evaluated. An expert can assist in the analysis, but publication does not depend on what someone says.
  • Exclusivity – the public learns important information, that else would not have been in the open.

And, an article in Salon explores, Why We’re Living in the Golden Age of Investigative Journalism

“For investigative reporting, injustice is the gift that just keeps giving….These may be tough times, lean times, difficult times, but don’t be fooled: they’re also boom times.  There can be no question that, if you’re a reader with access to the Internet, you’re living in a new golden age of investigative journalism.”

Yet, if you read the broad definition of what an investigative journalists does (in the quote from the JournalismFund site), the focus of such a journalist’s work need not be pure injustice…

FlavourMag has an article called, Courageous And Unstoppable: Award-Winning Journalist Jenny Kleeman Sets The Record Straight.

Jenny Kleeman -- Investigative Journalist

Jenny Kleeman — Investigative Journalist

I’ll use Ms. Kleeman as an example of a storytelling journalist with a few excerpts from the FlavourMag article:

“Having tiptoed through war-torn countries, tackling corruption and appearing as a witness in the trial of the first ever Nigerian trafficker to be convicted in the UK, Jenny’s standing on the frontline as a narrator is astonishing”

I do believe a “narrator” is telling a story or tale or, at least, a report…

“I think you have to remember when you’re in emotionally difficult situations that the story is not about you, so you must be able to keep your composure, or at least save the bulk of your emotions when you’re not on camera.”

Probably don’t need to point this out but she did say “story”…

And, she’s apparently kept her humanity:

“You think maybe I would be a bit more cynical having seen the things that I have seen but actually, it’s made me a bit of a hippie as I’ve come away with a really positive view on human nature.”

And, Jenny also reveals a bit of behind the scenes knowledge:

“Part of the way that we get access is through local people who we work with. Every film that I work on I have a local producer, they are called fixers in the business, but in reality that means it’s a local person who makes all the calls for us and whose judgement we rely on in every single situation. What usually happens is we would come up with an idea for a story and they would be our guide, the quality of the producer can make or break a film. I have worked on films with some remarkable people, as well as some who were not so great and you really do see the difference on screen.”


I’ll give you a link to Jenny’s site and ask you to watch a video, then decide if investigative journalists can be storytellers (in fact, fiction writers would do well to notice how these folks tell their stories...):

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3 responses to “Investigative Journalists Are Storytellers, Too…

  1. Pingback: Journalists Have a Lot to Teach Other Writers . . . | Notes from An Alien

  2. Pingback: More about Journalists; Because, sometimes, They’re the Most Important Writers We Have… | Notes from An Alien

  3. Pingback: Ever Heard of Literary Journalism…? | Notes from An Alien

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