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Mundane Reality Behind the Myth of the Dashing, Devil-May-Care Super Sleuths

Phillip Knightley, one of the country’s most distinguished investigative journalists, has never gone undercover. For him, investigative reporting involves long, boring hours in libraries, looking things up, tracing people, studying court reports, attending legal conferences, typing up memos and listening to outlandish conspiracy theories: that sort of thing. Here he offers six top tips to an aspiring sleuth

There are lots of myths about investigative journalism. It is thought to be exciting and glamorous. Its practitioners are seen as dashing, devil-may-care reporters who made the leap from suburban courts to “under-cover” work exposing the wrong-doers in our society and obtaining justice for those who had suffered at their hands.

Investigative journalists, so the myth goes, persist when ordinary reporters give up, have flashes of inspiration and insight, persuade reluctant insiders to confide in them and then, at the right moment, confront the guilty men (seldom women) and reveal all.

Written by Phillip Knightley.

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