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Investigative Journalism is a "how-to" primer for beginning investigative journalists. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter William C. Gaines uses a unique case-study method to teach readers what investigative reporting is, why it is important, and how it is practiced. The case studies are punctuated by reflective questions and answers that systematically guide readers through the narrative. This clever pedagogical device mimics the path of a reporter gathering information and working on a story. Readers will get a first-hand, real-life look at investigative journalists doing their job.
Recognizing that most instructors involve their students in writing actual stories right away, Investigative Journalism is concise and practical. Gaines reveals many strategies to generate story ideas, choose subjects to investigate, and uncover and sift through information and data. Along with the case study exercises, Investigative Journalism is loaded with specific resources used by practicing reporters, plus chapter-specific assignments for student reporters to launch their own investigations. Each chapter concludes with a chapter summary and class assignments.
The cases are based on real investigative stories. Only the names and places have been changed to protect reporters, their sources, and the secrets they have revealed to the author. Students will find these how-to cases widely applicable to the entangled bureaucracies, the free-wheeling local governments, or potential medical insurance fraud scandals they may find in their first jobs in countless cities and towns across the country.
William C. Gaines is an investigative journalist who spent his career at the Chicago Tribune (1974-2001). He won the Pulitzer for investigative reporting in 1988 for a series of stories about corruption in the Chicago City Council and shared the prize in 1976 for special local reporting on a series of stories about unsafe medical practices in some Chicago hospitals. He was also a finalist for the prize in 1995 for stories about financial dealings of the Nation of Islam. Gaines has been teaching reporting courses since 1975, first at Columbia College in Chicago, then at University of North Dakota, and since 1999, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Gaines has also written an investigative biography of jazz composer and performer, Jelly Roll Morton.