Anyone can do investigative journalism

I think I say this about nearly every 4450 lecture, but I really enjoyed the latest one! On Thursday, we met in a different location in the journalism school (which even though it was brought to my attention several times, I still went to the wrong building and had to run in order to not be late to lecture) because we were joined by a group of international students who were a part of a journalism exchange program. They were coming to the University of Missouri from all over the world to learn about how we teach journalism here. How cool is that?!

The topic of conversation was one that I’m very excited to continue learning about in my interest area: investigative journalism. We took a look at some of the best investigative pieces out there, including “Seafood from Slaves,” a series of articles that ultimately set free thousands of slaves from an island in Eastern Indonesia. The work of AP journalists over a period of 18 months exposed the modern slave industry to the public, which put an end to the trade. I can only dream about uncovering a story this incredible!

We were told that investigative stories can be found anywhere, and honestly any story could use investigative skills, no matter its topic. Much of what makes up investigative journalism stems from someone seeing something wrong in the world and making an effort to do something to change it. Mark Horvit, who teaches investigative journalism at Mizzou told us, “Don’t just bitch about it. Write about it.”

He also told us of several internships, which I will definitely be looking into in the future!

After the lecture, I spoke to Horvit about the dangers of doing investigative reporting abroad, seeing as our guests came from all over the world and each had different experiences with how journalism is handled in their home countries. He said that as an American journalist, I would have both advantages and disadvantages in my reporting abroad. I guess I’ll just have to see!

I’ll have my first experience reporting abroad this summer, through my internship in Barcelona, Spain! And believe me, I’ll be blogging all about it.

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