The Dutch-Flemish Association for Investigative Journalism VVOJ defines investigative journalism a broad sense. Its founders felt the association should not be an association of ‘fancy horses’: the few reporters that can spend all their time on larger projects. Rather, the VVOJ is an association for all journalists involved in, or appreciating in depth journalism.
The VVOJ defines Investigative journalism as:
- Critical and in depth journalism
- Journalism that does not merely pass on news that is already there, but creates news that would not have been there without the journalist’s intervention. This may happen by creating new facts, but also by interpreting or connecting already known information in a new way. In depth means a substantial journalistic effort was made, either in a quantitative sense – e.g. time spent on research, number of sources consulted – or in a qualitative sense – e.g. sharp questions formulated, new approaches taken up – or a combination of both.
The VVOJ distinguishes three kinds of investigative journalism (that may overlap):
- Revealing scandals. Tracing infringements of laws, rules or morals by companies, organizations or persons.
- Assessing governments’, companies’ and other organisations’ policies or actions.
- Describing social, economic, political and cultural trends, to trace changes in society.