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Best Investigative Journalism Websites

by Nicola P. Young 4 years ago in product review
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In the digital age, it can be hard to sift through the never-ending feeds of news. But these investigative journalism websites work to bring you nothing but the best, most accurate information.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

In the technological age, print publications are rare. Most people get their news and information either directly from online news sources, like the digital versions of the New York Times or Washington Post, or, more often, second-hand through social media. This ease of information access is both a blessing and a curse: there is an abundance of information and news for your consumption, free and right at your fingertips, but at the same time, anyone can say anything they like on the internet. Shoddy research, questionable interpretations, and more can make good reporting hard to find. But it's out there, if you know where to look. That's why, now more than ever, investigative journalism websites are extremely important. Some of the next best investigative journalists of all time could come from these sites.

The Center for Public Integrity is one of the oldest investigative journalism websites, a multi-award winning nonprofit (including two Pulitzer prizes in 2014 and 2017), which investigates and reports on an ever-increasing range of topics, from immigration to environment and beyond. It was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis, and has since grown and adapted with the times. But it remains one of the leading sources of investigative news today.

Though they report on a wide range of topics, The Center of Public Integrity was founded primarily to uncover corruption and abuse of power by individuals in positions of power—especially within the government. In doing so, they aim to create increased transparency and communication between the government and the people it governs.

Reveal is the new name and face of the Center for Investigative Reporting, or CIR. CIR itself was founded in 1977, making it even older than the equally well-respected CPI. The organization's mission to shed light on inequities and corruption in both the government and the private sector has not changed in the decades since its founding, though its methods of both investigation and distribution have. Originally, the organization aired its investigations in print publication. But in the digital era, they now largely through their investigative journalism website, and even have one of the best investigative podcasts and radio show. These new developments are largely responsible for the new name, "Reveal," which encompasses these more recent mediums for information distribution.

The mission statement of the investigative journalism website ProPublica and its affiliated organization is not solely to report on abuses of power and corruption in the government, corporations, and other organizations, but also to use the power of this spotlight to create change. Their driving belief is that continuous reporting and updating on a moral issue relevant to the public will, eventually, force the accountable parties to take responsibility, ultimately exacting change and justice at the same time. The organization, founded only a decade ago, already has 75 investigative reporters working to uncover injustices and put them in the spotlight.

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting, or NECIR, is a Boston-based organization that strives to create change in two important ways: first, like all investigative journalism websites, the organization's goal is to shed light on corruption, abuse of power, and other injustices across the nation. And in doing so, they aim to push the responsible parties to be held accountable and make necessary changes.

However, NECIR offers a second, very important public service: education. Through Boston University, the organization seeks to educate students as early as high school to do important, sound investigative reporting. Their high school program is, in fact, one the largest summer journalism courses available to high schoolers interested in investigative journalism.

Transparency International is an investigative journalism website that does exactly what its title would indicate: seeks international transparency by uncovering corruption around the globe. This endeavor, though geographically much wider ranging than that of most investigative journalism websites, is somewhat more specific in scope than those sites. While most investigative organizations of this kind do seek to uncover corruption, TI focuses entirely on this goal, investing its resources in investigations of parties in power using that power for personal gain. This happens in the smallest towns and the biggest cities, at frequencies and degrees that you might not believe, perpetrated by figures of all kinds.

Investigative Reporters and Editors is not itself a news organization, but rather a grassroots nonprofit for investigative journalists. Since its founding in 1975, its aim has been largely to help journalists achieve the highest standard of investigative reporting by providing tips, sources, and connections that enable reporters everywhere to do the best work they can—which in turn improves the quality of the content the rest of the world consumes.

But the IRE isn't just for reporters—it also runs a blog, Extra! Extra! which posts many of these resulting stories, making it a great resource for the investigative journalist and interested citizen alike.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ, is perhaps the best investigative journalism website for international news and stories. They operate by consulting on their investigations with sources and journalists around the globe, opening up many new avenues of information and allowing them to investigate and report on stories that cross borders of all kinds. The ever-growing group of international journalists provides groundbreaking information on a regular basis, winning countless awards—including a Pulitzer prize for explanatory reporting, due to their famous investigation and release of the Panama Papers, a massive set of documents regarding the use of off-shore accounts by wealthy individuals.

Frontline is one of PBS' most famous productions. Most people likely recognize it as PBS' award-winning documentary series, which were the results of in-depth investigations into various topics, usually including original footage and interviews. But Frontline isn't only something you'll find on the television—PBS also has a website, which features these documentary episodes and more. In fact, most of their documentaries can be found and watched through their website, making it easier than ever to keep up on the important discoveries and investigations going on today. But in addition to their standard hour-long documentaries, Frontline is also an excellent source of news of all kinds, and now boasts a popular, well-respected podcast in addition to their documentaries.

The Open Secrets blog is a way for the public to follow the investigations of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a nonprofit organization that investigates, above all, money in politics. This mainly means elucidating the movement of money in election campaigns, a place where finances seem to regularly result in scandal. Their blog posts regular reports on money-related issues in politics, and what that means for the government and the public. By tracking the use of money in politics, CRP has uncovered countless abuses of power and finance in the government and private sector, pushing for total transparency in one of government's most significant issues: money.

Real Clear Investigations is a sub-site of the RealClear organization, which has pages for the aggregation of news coverage on a wide range of topics. One such topic is their investigation section, which provides a combination of original investigations and the best investigations from outside sources. They also recommend some the best investigative journalism books. Although Real Clear Investigations is one of the newer investigative journalism websites, the RealClear site itself, most commonly known by Real Clear Politics, is a well-established site that has been providing high-quality news for almost two decades. By operating with a combination of original and external investigations, they maximize their ability to choose the best, most unbiased and nonpartisan representations that they can.

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About the author

Nicola P. Young

Lover of Books, Saxophone, Blogs, and Dogs. Not necessarily in that order. Book blogger at heartofinkandpaper.com.

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