What role does investigative journalism play in the Arab mediascene today?
RS: There is no investigative journalism in the Arab media scene, this is why we
are here. Before ARIJ was founded in 2005, most journalists didn‟t know aboutthis type of reporting. There is now more awareness in the region, but we don‟t see
any investigative journalism practised in the media.In the early phase of ARIJ, we produced investigative reports on socio-economicissues such as education, environment and small corruption. Since the Arab Spring,there is a tendency to investigate political corruption, money laundering, andorganised crime, especially in Egypt.Right now, I am encouraging journalists to document stories about topics that werenot explored during the Egyptian revolution, namely the killings, cases of tortureand rape.
What hands-on tips can you give Arab reporters who want topractise investigative journalism?
RS: I advise them to be well-versed in computer technology and proficient in atleast one foreign language, preferably English. Nearly all the journalists we work with speak Arabic only, so we have started running English language classes atARIJ.Investigative journalists need to have a lot of legal training, learn how to apply thehypothesis-based inquiry methodology, and ensure that their story is viable, fact-evidenced, well-resourced. This should enable them to challenge assumptions anddraw conclusions from various arguments.What makes a distinguished investigative reporter is a good flair for news, theability to detect stories that will become big topics and to do the follow up. Aninvestigative reporter needs to be dedicated, prepared to work hard and discuss abig subject extensively in order to be able to produce professional quality content.
It‟s very important for investigative reporters to do the interviews in person.
Unfortunately, many journalists rely on the Internet, e-
mails, and don‟t meet
people. Instead, they should show initiative, leave the office and speak to people.