There are two lovely, slaphappy, public office-related messes playing-out right now in Atlanta you won’t want to miss a moment of: the APS cheating scandal and Governor Deal’s trail of dubious dealings.
Thing is, the media attentions applied to both situations are so random and all-over-the-place it’s like Dick Cheney on a quail hunt; you never know where the shots are coming from, nor what they’re going to hit.
There is no clearinghouse of information, so you’re bound to miss something… if you’re not paying close attention.
Investigative journalism is an odd bird. Although news farms like to say they get their content from some pristine well of hard work, that’s not really the case.
Most get their news from the other news farm down the street. And most scandals erupt because people are gossipy tattletales and can’t keep a secret.
And sometimes people will even tell a journalist if they’re a hardcore whistleblower with stuff like paperwork to flaunt, and not just your common trash-talker over at Manuel’s.
But ultimately, it’s up to a near-solo, working journalist to keep the fires of an investigative situation burning… with loads of seasoned skepticism and doubt mixed-in with better-than-yours sources.
Says longtime, Atlanta investigative reporter, Jim Walls of Atlanta Unfiltered and the AJC :
The trick is to know your topic thoroughly, keep asking questions when things don’t add up, and sometimes even when they seem to. Focus on what people have done, not what they say they’ve done. And do not assume that the most likely explanation is correct, or at least 100% correct. There are nuances to everything.