Investigative journalism: the art of relating to people



The objective of investigative journalism is to “get people talking”. This is how Niels Fastrup looks at his work. He is an investigative journalist for DR, the Danish public broadcaster of television and radio. “Bed of Lies” host Cara McGoogan, of UK The Telegraph, agreed and said these investigations raise more awareness of situations and events.

In May, Niels showed how the Defense Intelligence Service let the United States spy on Angela Merkel and key French, Norwegian and Swedish politicians through Danish internet cables. He devoted an entire year to this investigation, for which he felt “highly privileged”.

Cara worked to expose British police undercover practices. They have reportedly infiltrated activist groups, whether dangerous or not, often forming relationships with women. The British journalist chose a podcast as the format to show her investigation. The aim was to give voice to women’s stories, so that they could have more impact on the audience.

One of the challenges for the two journalists was to gain the trust of the source. For Niels, it was a little harder: he had to speak other languages ​​and hide his intentions in coded messages. “You have to listen very carefully and not exert pressure” and it is not easy: “There is no formula” for knowing when to stop pushing. “You just have to know,” he said. In addition, “we have to make sure that people are comfortable”.

These surveys have an impact (and a cost). It starts a social conversation about what happened. “It was the most successful podcast but also the most expensive,” Cara explained. Niels thinks that “this is something commercial services would never do.” It is important to “find the right people”.

Written by Artyom Laptev, Francisco Sezinando and Gonçalo Martins



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