Q. I've always been interested to know how you decide WHAT to investigate? After all, you can't investigate everything — yet many things warrant investigation. I also understand that investigative reporting is an expensive process, taking reporters and editors away from other stories. For some news organization, it seems a luxury/indulgence they can't afford. So what's the calculus, the criteria, at The Times?Exactly! See Assignment No. 1, Assignments Page, Fact Investigation Course (Fall 2006):
— Thomas Hackett
A. Your question is a good one because deciding what to investigate is often the most difficult decision. ...
I believe it is important for students of investigation to experience the "agony of exploratory investigation" for themselves.See also Beginnings Are Hard: Notes on Starting an Investigation
My experience with prior incarnations of this course shows that the process of identifying a suitable investigation topic can be both arduous and time-consuming. Beginnings of any kind are usually hard. The beginnings of investigations are no exception to this rule: in the initial phases of investigation -- phases that are usually exploratory in nature -- everything often seems to be a bloomin' buzzin' confusion.