Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, traditionally involving crime, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing, although more commonly now used to determine the relationship status, likelihood of pregnancy or current whereabouts of celebrities - ideally naked or near naked. An investigative journalist may spend months, years, or even minutes researching and preparing a report. Investigative journalism is a primary source of information.
Modern methods of investigative journalists
Practitioners sometimes use the terms "watchdog journalism" or "accountability reporting" as a euphemism for "chequebook journalism" or "vox populi".
An investigative reporter may make use of one or more of these tools, among others, on a single story:
- Analysis of documents, such as lawsuits and other legal documents, tax records, government reports, regulatory reports and corporate financial filings, although more likely to be releases from AP, Reuters, or publicity agents.
- Investigation of technical issues, including scrutiny of government and business practices and their effects, or rifling through the debris left behind by celebrities
- Research into social and legal issues via the means of phone polls with questions along the lines of "Who do you think should be the next person evicted from Big Brother? Calls charged at 55c a minute or higher from cell phones."
- Subscription research sources
such as News of the World
- Numerous interviews with on-the-record sources as well as, in some instances like PR agencies and talent managers
- Wire-tapping, paparazzi, and other forms of private surveillance
Often journalists will use door-stop interviews to obtain otherwise hidden or unknown information. In a recent exposé by Daily News an investigative journalist carried around a copy of the local street map around in his pockets and appeared at scheduled appearances of nominees for the Democrat Party Primaries. As said candidate was leaving he would accost them on the street. He would ask a few basic questions to get them off the defensive,  and then whip the map out of his pocket and ask "Can you see Africa on this map?"
As a result of this technique the Daily News recently released the headline article 90% of Democrat Candidates cannot locate Africa on a map.
The success of investigative journalism
While there have been many famous breakthroughs uncovered by investigative journalists, none is more famous then the Watergate scandal, skilfully investigated by Rob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, with the assistance of an unnamed source, Deep Throat, that eventually won them a Pulitzer Prize.
This scandal eventually robbed Richard Nixon of the Presidency of the United States. Since this time the Republican party have shied away from more intelligent candidates. This has lead to the position of "leader of the Western world" to be filled by Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W Bush. This is apparently a good thing.
- How about this weather? Did you see the local sports team in their most recent sporting event?
- Apparently 12% of said candidates thought they could. Mathematics is also not a skill that journalists are known for.
- All external sources are protected by Freedom of Press Act.