SOPA 2015 - Take every lead and never let a story go, says a Filipino investigative reporter
By Natasha Fernandes
Before sending out under-covers and getting in touch with whistle blowers, an investigative reporter must smell the potential wrongdoings first, says Nancy Carvajal, reporter at The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
"With the correct mindset and skills, anyone here can be an investigative journalist, as long as you have the perseverance, interest, curiosity, and the will to follow through the things you know are wrong," she said.
Ms Carvajal is one of six SOPA-winning journalists speaking at Hong Kong Baptist University this week. Having studied in Economics in college, she took her first step as a newsroom assistant, which gave her the chance to learn and observe.
She said "the nose for news" makes a great investigative reporter. During her career, she often picked up story leads ignored by others.
After reading a news story about the rescue of a kidnapped victim, who knew about his employers' illegal activities, she had a gut feeling that things were going wrong.
She noticed that public money were mentioned in the police report and decided to look into it. That investigation finally led to the exposure of a corruption case involving more than 100 legislators.
"When it comes to public money, it is of immediate public interest," she said.
Besides curiosity, Ms Carvajal said the skills of "verifying and validating" are essential to make sure the stories will not be challenged.
During her investigative reporting, she always made sure she had enough sources and witnesses for crosschecking.
"As long as it's the truth, you do not let the story go away."
(Edited by Christy Leung and Viola Zhou. Copy-edited by Joey Hung.)
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