Investigative Journalism Project

2018- explanation of homework 

Read the following 5 paragraphs, and then watch the Keynote presentation, as homework. Make notes of any questions you have about the project.

Become an investigative journalist!

As you’ve already noted, living in the Victorian Era would have been extremely difficult, and if we did live then, we probably would have been upset with some aspect of our lives, our living conditions, working conditions, food, hygiene, equality, etc.

The people who were alive then got upset too. Charles Dickens was among one of England’s most vocal reformers, but there were lots of other writers alive then who were pushing for change as well. Many of them did this by investigating a problem and then writing about it in a newspaper or magazine in an attempt to get it stopped. This is called investigative journalism, and it was born in the Victorian Era. Your task over the next two weeks is to act as an investigative reporter and explore a topic from the Victorian Era.

Investigative journalism = news reporters trying to discover information which is of public interest but which someone might be keeping hidden.

One great example of investigative journalism comes from the 19th Century United States:
Nellie Bly, an eighteen-year-old reporter with the Pittsburgh Dispatch, was an important pioneer in investigative journalism. Bly’s journalistic style was marked by her first-hand tales of the lives of ordinary people. She often obtained this material by becoming involved in a series of undercover adventures. For example, she worked in a Pittsburgh factory to investigate child labor, low wages, and unsafe working conditions. Bly was not only interested in writing about social problems but was always willing to suggest ways that they could be solved.

In 1887 Bly was recruited by Joseph Pulitzer to write for his newspaper, the New York World. Over the next few years, she used her unique approach to write about poverty, housing and labor conditions in New York. This often involved undercover work and she feigned insanity to get into New York’s insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Bly discovered that patients were fed vermin-infested food and physically abused by the staff. She also found out that some patients were not psychologically disturbed but were suffering from a physical illness. Others had been maliciously placed there by family members. For example, one woman had been declared insane by her husband after he caught her being unfaithful. Bly’s scathing attacks on the way patients were treated at Blackwell’s Island led to much-needed reforms.
(from Spartacus Educational)
Watch the trailer for a new movie about Bly’s time at Blackwell’s Island


2018 Streets Of London Intro to Project – English from Hannah Reimer on Vimeo.

Examine/read/watch at least two of the below sample investigative articles/newscasts and summarize one of them before your next 70-minute class.
Write 8 or so bullet points summarizing the main points you learned.

Professional examples of investigative journalism (print and broadcast formats):

“Anger and Outrage Over Widespread Rhino Horn Poaching” from Al Jazeera
“Need a Kidney? Inside the World’s Biggest Organ Market” from Al Jazeera

Modern Slavery from TeenInk
“Drivers and Legislators Dismiss Cell Phone Risk” from The New York Times
“The Other Casualty of War” from iWatch News

Use NoodleTools for taking and organizing all notes and creating a bibliography.

  1. Remind yourself of these tips on smart searching
  2. Login to Noodletools to start a new project. Call it “Victorian Investigative News.”
  3. Use the default settings for “junior MLA.”
  4. As soon as you find a source you like, add it to Noodletools.

But first, let’s review how to:
summarize and avoid plagiarism and why, and when to quote a source directly using quotation marks.

Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting

Next, remind yourself when you would want to paraphrase, and how to do it.

After researching and creating 10-16 notecards, you should be ready to begin writing your main, in-depth piece.

Use Victorian Research LeadsNotes for notes as you watch the next two screencasts.

How do I start?

Make an outline to organize all the research.
You have three options for structuring your story:
Learn about them in the Investigative Journalism Manual

Use one of these openings:
A) descriptive lead
B) narrative lead
C) question lead
or maybe, just maybe, D) summary lead

2. What do I include next?
Decide which journalistic question is the 2nd most important, 3rd most important, 4th most important and so on. Include the answers in that order.

3. Don’t forget to EXPAND and go into as much detail as possible.
like the example NYTimes story on the dangers of texting and driving

4. TO REMEMBER –  short paragraphs (2-4 sentences) / CITATIONS with every idea / POWERFUL, strong, persuasive, emotional word choice that will convince your reader that this problem needs to be stopped.
Check out this word choice graph WORD CHOICE GRAPHINGto remind you of the kinds of words to use and those to avoid.

5. Look over this glossary of British words to add authenticity to your article.

6. Look over the learning targets to see how you’ll be assessed.