By Alexis Ratliff
Investigative Journalism Challenges
Dee J. Hall, the co-founder of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, has embraced the life of a fly-on-the-wall, trying to get information no matter the cost. That cost, being her time. Dee will be a presenter at the upcoming NEWSPA conference on April 22, 2020.
Dee stated, “Investigative reporting often involves digging out information that some people or groups wish to remain hidden. Sometimes these people or groups are powerful, controlling the information you want and that they want to keep secret.”
For more than 30 years, Dee J. Hall has been fighting for the right to information that we, the public have access to, if we just know how to get it. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, where she works alongside her husband Andy Hall, is dedicated to providing the public with information to educate and inform.
Become a Better Journalist Using FOIA
FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act, has allowed Dee to explore the inner workings of environmental issues, the educational system and governmental agencies. Humans are curious by nature, which makes sense why it’s hard for Dee to stop once she gets started on a story. Curiosity and tenacity has helped her access information that wouldn’t have been possible without FOIA laws.
Dee notes, “Freedom of information laws are the most important tool in investigative reporting. They allow reporters and regular citizens to have first hand access to records that show what our government is up to.”
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
The hardest part of investigative journalism is getting ready for the intense interviews and playing the role of a reporter until you get the information you need.
Hall said, “Some of the interviews you conduct WILL be uncomfortable. Stand your ground. Ask questions respectfully but insistently. If you’re shy, pretend not to be. Resist being intimidated away from getting an answer to your question.”
If you’re a student interested in investigative journalism, you can get to know your rights by checking out this website.