“Revealed:  the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin” AND “Sergei Roldugin, the cellist who holds the key to tracing Putin’s hidden fortune”, the first and second parts of the Guardian’s award-winning investigation into the infamous Panama Papers.  Find them here:  and here:

In your analysis, you will strive to answer these questions:

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Why can we consider this piece an example of investigative journalism?  What elements suggest that this is not another run-of-the-mill journalistic story?

What technical, professional, political or economic factors made the subject of this story a viable choice for an investigation?    Do you know other investigative stories, from the past or the present, written on this subject?

How did this story originate?  What initial difficulties, if any, did the journalist have to overcome?  What background, professional history or personal characteristics made this journalist the right person for the job?

What sources of information did the journalist contact?  Did he/she manage to contact all sources that would have been necessary, convenient or desirable?    What sources, if any, do you think he/she must have added to the story?  Why do you think he/she failed to contact those sources?  Were they reachable?  How would have you reach them?

What methods of research were used by the journalist?  Were those methods the most appropriate, given the subject of the story?    Were they effective?    Did they pose any ethical challenge or conflict to the journalist?

How is the story written?  Had you been the author of the story, would you have written it differently?  Is the organisation of the story the most effective?  In case you are analysing a radio, television or film piece, refer to its structure, the organisation of information and the language, images or sound effects used.

Was this story legally, ethically or politically controversial?  Why?  What, if any, legal or ethical rules the journalist breached?    Was the journalist justified in doing so?  Why?

What social, cultural or political impact, if any, did this story have?    Do you think public reaction to it was appropriate?

These questions are only a guide to help you organise your analysis, but you are encouraged to add any other angles to the discussion of your piece.    Your story might have technical or contextual peculiarities you would need to address.

Your analysis must make reference to the academic literature of the module, but you are encouraged to use any other academic or professional sources within the fields of journalism, media, cultural studies, politics, ethics, law and literature that might enrich your argument.

For a first, you would be expected to quote at least 7 different academic sources, but notice that doing so does not automatically guarantees you a first or even a high mark.



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