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It is common for government offices, when approached for information, to respond that the journalist should file a formal request in writing. This is a common way of slowing down enquiries and is an attempt to chase away ‘nosy reporters’. The journalist should create template letters for requesting information to make this process as quick and efficient as possible. Watchdog’s Guide to Investigative Reporting 49 Investigative stories could take anything from a month to several years to develop.

Watchdog’s Guide to Investigative Reporting 53 CHAPTER 7 Ethical Pitfalls and the slippery slope “Journalists ought not to stand outside the closed doors of the powerful waiting to be lied to. They are not functionaries, and they should not be charlatans. They ought to be sceptical about the assumed and the acceptable, especially the legitimate and respectable” (John Pilger, Hidden Agendas) While it is recognised that journalists should be independent and play a role in encouraging the free flow of information in society, they also have an obligation to work in the public interest.

Collaboration between investigative journalists provides story cohesion, growth in journalistic experience, and solidarity among independent investigative reporters. • There is greater impact when the story breaks, as it hits all countries at once. • The legal risk tends to increase with bigger operations. What financial and legal liability does each partner carry? by colleagues are welcome. Former Sunday Times Investigation Unit journalist Andre Jurgens confirmed this: I wouldn’t describe it as being an ‘adversarial relationship’.

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