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To avoid wasting time in a story follow-up, it can be useful to think in terms of ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’. As soon as there might be a story, it is worth communicating with other newsroom players who are likely to have a role in the investigation. This is an essential part of team-building, managing a project through good working relationships. By communicating with trusted colleagues and decision-makers as soon as a story starts shaping up, the foundations for a powerful team and good treatment of your project on publication’s pages will already be established.

Use common sense:

  • >   Communicate discreetly and do not boast wildly about the upcoming story in a general newsroom meeting. Office doors sometimes need to be closed!
  • >   Select team members carefully – people you can trust to be discreet themselves.
  • >   Do not give away every detail of your work – it is still only a proposed story that needs more checks. Therefore, make the status of the shared information and the need for discretion very clear.

After having sorted out hints, rumours and tip-offs, you probably want to begin as soon as possible with the investigation. However, before starting your research, you should first plan how to proceed. What are the first steps, and what do you have to keep in mind before and during the investigation? The next chapter will shed light on these questions.