The words "according to documents" in a news story signal investigative journalism of the highest caliber.
We want to celebrate reporting based on government or corporate reports, emails, private chat messages or something equally tangible—as opposed to that based on unnamed sources or rumors.
The idea is imperfect, of course, and some excellent reporting will be based on no documents and some terrible reporting will be based on many documents. But ultimately, it's a great rule of thumb.
NBC News citing master guest lists and internal State Department calendars.
Axios citing a Chinese government request.
Reuters citing a draft of a new national security law.
The Hill citing an internal watchdog report.
Reuters citing a government document signed by the Syrian finance minister.
You'll get one email every Sunday with our selection of the week's top document-based investigative reporting. (We won't share your email address or spam you.)
Help us highlight worthwhile reporting by submitting it below or emailing us. We welcome work by freelancers, smaller publications and journalists covering underreported issues or countries.
© 2020 Girish Gupta and Alexandra Ulmer