A lecturer at the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, Dr Ebenezer Bisi Olawuyi, has dispelled myths surrounding investigative journalism.
Also known as Accountability Reporting or In-depth Journalism, investigative journalism involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed either deliberately by someone in a position of power, or accidentally behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding.
Despite its objectives, most people think investigative journalism is glamorous and can be career defining to the point of celebrity and that journalists are bigger than the stories they report.
Others are that investigative journalism is mainly driven by the private media.
However, Dr Olawuyi, in a presentation on the theoretical framework of investigative journalism at the regional workshop on financial and economic crimes at Assinie in Cote D’Ivoire on Tuesday said these perceptions were false.
Therefore, he allayed such thoughts and stressed that these myths were the otherwise.
Dr Olawuyi said investigative journalists possessed traits including curiosity, passion, logical thinking, organisation and self-discipline.
Others he stated were flexibility, taking initiatives, good team working and communication skills as well as well-developed reporting skills.
Dr Olawuyi stressed that investigative journalists also had a broad general knowledge and good research skills, were determined and patient.
Speaking on the theoretical framework, he highlighted on the social responsibility dimension, adding that the “media should accept and fulfill certain obligations to society.”
“These obligations are mainly to be met by setting high or professional standards of informativeness, truth, accuracy, objectivity and balance,” he added.
He used the opportunity to urge journalists to be circumspect in their reportage so as to avoid being open to risk in the course of “unravelling or uncovering what someone else wants to cover.”
FROM ABIGAIL ARTHUR, ASSINIE, COTE D’IVOIRE