How to Become an Investigative Journalist? – A Complete Guide

how to become an investigative journalist

Are you passionate about uncovering the truth and bringing important stories to light? If so, a career as an investigative journalist might be the perfect fit for you. In this blog, we will dive deep into what it means to be an investigative journalist, the responsibilities that come with it, and where you can find work in this exciting field. We will also provide a step-by-step guide on how to become an investigative journalist, including earning your degree, participating in contests, taking classes and workshops, building a portfolio, and gaining valuable experience. Additionally, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of being an investigative journalist. So if you’re ready to embark on a thrilling journey of seeking truth and making a difference through journalism, keep reading!

What is an Investigative Journalist?

What is an Investigative Journalist

An investigative journalist is a reporter who specializes in in-depth research and reporting to uncover hidden information or expose wrongdoing. Unlike traditional journalists who report on current events or provide general news coverage, investigative journalists delve deep into a specific topic or issue, often spending months or even years gathering evidence, conducting interviews, and analyzing data.

Their goal is to provide the public with accurate, unbiased, and impactful stories that hold individuals, organizations, or governments accountable for their actions. Investigative journalism plays a critical role in democracy by shining a light on corruption, injustice, and abuses of power. It requires extensive research skills, persistence, and a commitment to truth-seeking in order to bring important stories to light.

What Does an Investigative Journalist Do?

What Does an Investigative Journalist Do

Investigative journalists play a crucial role in uncovering and reporting important stories that may go unnoticed. They are responsible for conducting in-depth research, interviews, and analysis to expose corruption, wrongdoing, and other issues of public interest. Investigative journalists often work independently or as part of a team and may spend months or even years working on a single story. Their work requires a high level of tenacity, critical thinking, and attention to detail. Once they have gathered sufficient evidence, investigative journalists present their findings through articles, documentaries, or other forms of social media, aiming to hold individuals or organizations accountable for their actions.

Where to Find Work as an Investigative Journalist?

Where to Find Work as an Investigative Journalist

As an investigative journalist in the UK, there are several avenues you can explore to find work. One option is to apply for positions at established news organizations such as newspapers, magazines, and television stations. These organizations often have dedicated investigative journalism teams or departments where you can contribute your skills. Another option is to freelance and pitch your investigative stories to various media outlets.

This allows you to have more control over the topics you cover and allows you to work on various projects. Additionally, nonprofit organizations and independent media outlets focus specifically on investigative journalism. These organizations often offer fellowships or grants for journalists and provide a platform for impactful investigative reporting. Networking with other journalists and attending industry events can also help you discover job opportunities and make valuable connections in the field of investigative journalism in the UK.

How to Become an Investigative Journalist?

How to Become an Investigative Journalist.

If you want to become an investigative journalist, there are a few things you should do.

  1. Determine what type of investigative journalist you want to be. There are many different types of investigative journalism, each with its own set of skills and requirements. Do you want to be an investigative reporter for a news organization, or do you want to work as an independent journalist?
  2. Develop your research and writing skills. Investigative journalists need to be able to find and use sources of information, and they need to be able to write clearly and concisely. If you’re not already a skilled researcher and writer, consider taking journalism classes or internships with news organizations.
  3. Get some experience in the field. Many investigative journalists start their careers by working in other areas of journalism, such as general reporting or news editing. This can give you valuable experience in dealing with sources and tight deadlines, both of which are essential for success in investigative journalism.
  4. Learn how to use technology. Investigative journalists need to be comfortable using computers and various types of software, including databases and spreadsheets. If you’re not already familiar with these tools, take some time to learn about them before embarking on your career as an investigative journalist.
  5. Find a mentor. A good mentor can teach you the ropes of investigative journalism and help you make connections in the field. Try to find someone already established in the type of investigative journalism you’re interested in pursuing.
  6. Be prepared for long hours and hard work. Investigative journalism can be demanding and time-consuming. You may need to spend hours researching, interviewing sources, and analyzing data. Be prepared to put in the effort and stay committed to your work.
  7. Develop strong ethics and integrity. Investigative journalism often involves digging into sensitive topics and uncovering hidden truths. Maintaining high ethical standards is crucial, ensuring accuracy, fairness, and impartiality in your reporting.
  8. Network with other journalists and professionals in the field. Building connections can open doors for collaboration, story ideas, and career opportunities. Attend journalism conferences or join professional organizations to stay updated on industry trends and meet other professionals in the field.
  9. Hone your writing skills. Investigative journalists need to be able to articulate complex information clearly and concisely. Practice writing in a compelling and engaging manner while maintaining accuracy and objectivity.
  10. Be persistent and tenacious. Investigative journalism often requires perseverance, which may involve facing obstacles, pushback, or threats. Develop a thick skin and remain determined to uncover the truth.

The Benefits and Challenges of Being an Investigative Journalist

The Benefits and Challenges of Being an Investigative Journalist

Investigative journalists are often lauded for their tenacity and fearlessness in pursuing the truth. But the job comes with its own set of challenges, from long hours and tight deadlines to the constant threat of danger. Here, we take a look at the some of the benefits and challenges of being an investigative journalist.

On the plus side, investigative journalism can be immensely rewarding. It provides a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the world by shining a light on important issues and exposing corruption and wrongdoing. It can also be exciting and exhilarating, as you never know what you might uncover next.

But it’s not all good news. Investigative journalism is notoriously tough, both physically and mentally. The hours are long, the work is demanding, and there is always the possibility of running into danger while chasing a story. And even when you manage to get that big scoop, there’s no guarantee that anyone will care about it or do anything about it.


Becoming an investigative journalist is a challenging yet rewarding career path for those who are passionate about uncovering the truth and holding power accountable. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming an investigative journalist, there are key steps you can take to increase your chances of success. Start by honing your skills in research, writing, and critical thinking. Build a strong network of contacts and mentors within the industry. Seek internships or entry-level positions at news organizations that prioritize investigative journalism. And most importantly, never stop learning and seeking out opportunities to improve your craft. With dedication, persistence, and a commitment to uncovering the truth, you can embark on a fulfilling career as an investigative journalist.

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