INVESTIGATIONS: "J'Accuse! - We
name the guilty men! "
Notes by Chris Horrie
"Investigative journalism" is a huge subject which
will, in due course, be dealt with in a related INVESTIGATIVE
WEB related to this site.
Basically all it means that the journalist has initiated the
story - as oppose to the normal method of simply following
what is happening in the courts, council, parliament, scheduled
meetings (etc - the news agenda) or responding to some unscheduled
disaster or crisis.
It therefore overlaps with GONZO journalism. The original
humdinger investigative piece J'ACCUSE! was initiated by the
writer and journalist Emile
Zola. He formed the view that the French army officer Dreyfus
(sent to Devil's Island had been scapegoated and framed. he
went over the court case and proved this was the case, got
Dreyfus out of jail and caused the Government to fall and the
French state to be modernised and reformed.
In more recent times the Washington Post team of Woodward
and Bernstein exposed the Nixon Watergate scandal. Granada's
World in Action TV show (now defunct) managed to get the framed "Birmingham
Six" out of jail.
The most common types of investigative pieces involve
reviewing miscarriages of justice; exposing consumer rip-offs
and working, generally, with the police when they can't get
a conviction. There is a legal dimension to all this which
we will discuss as part of the law module.
back to BA Journalism
back to MA Journalism