Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

CPELI Level 4

This guide is in support of CPELI Level 4, taught by Jim Hays, Jonathan Lucero and others, for researching argumentation essay topics.

Investigative Journalisim: Resources for Controversial Topics

Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, often involving crime, political corruption, corporate wrongdoing or lack of accountability. Investigative journalism reports go beyond the quickly prepared, brief stories appearing in mainstream news sites, newspapers and magazines. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report. This form of journalism is sometimes known as "watchdog journalism" or "accountability reporting." Investigative journalists make use of many types of sources, such as lawsuits, tax records, government reports, corporate financial filings, public record databases, government and business practices, academic databases (such as Westlaw), in-depth on- or off-the-record interviews, and federal and state Freedom of Information Act documents from government agencies.


Below is a sampling of investigative journalism websites. These sites can be a good source to consult in helping you decide on a topic for your assignment, as well as a source of articles and reports for your bibliography and references.

Bureau of Investigative Journalism. "...a not-for-profit organisation based at City University, London, that bolsters original journalism by producing high-quality investigations for press and broadcast media."

California Watch. "California Watch is a nonprofit and nonpartisan investigative reporting group operated by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Writers and editors at the news organization track a variety of issues, including money and politics, the environment, health and welfare, public safety and education." [Description from Wikipedia, California Watch]

Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. "Founded in 1977, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization, producing multimedia reporting that has impact and is relevant to people's lives."

Center for Public Integrity. "The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis. We are one of the country's oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations.  Our mission: to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first."

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.  "...a unique network of more than 100 leading journalists in 50 countries. Launched in 1997 as a project of the Center for Public Integrity, ICIJ works on transnational investigations of crime, corruption, and lack of accountability." 

Investigative Reporters and Editors. "Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of investigative reporting. IRE was formed in 1975 to create a forum in which journalists throughout the world could help each other by sharing story ideas, newsgathering techniques and news sources."

Investigative Reporting Workshop. "The Investigative Reporting Workshop, [is] a professional journalism center in the School of Communication at American University."

National Security Archive. "Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents ("the world's largest nongovernmental collection" according to the Los Angeles Times), leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets."

ProPublica. "ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest." From Wikipedia, "ProPublica's investigations are conducted by its staff of full-time investigative reporters and the resulting stories are given away to news 'partners' for publication or broadcast. In some cases, reporters from both ProPublica and the news partners work together on a story. ProPublica has partnered with more than 50 different news organizations, including 60 Minutes, ABC World News, Business Week, CNN, Frontline, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, MSN Money,, Politico, Reader's Digest,, Slate, This American Life, and NPR, among many others."