I am a news junkie. I follow the news. I track how different outlets, and delivery mediums, report news. When big events occur, I’ll check out how the Washington Post vs the LA Times vs. Chicago Tribune vs. the NYTimes, for example, differ in their coverage. Or perhaps, for some entertainment (for a news junkie), compare the NYTimes vs. the NY DailyNews. It’s always informative. I just love seeing how news is reported from different points-of-view and examine how that influences how a subject is covered.
I am riveted to discussions about how the business of news is changing and in turn, how that is changing the news we read.
At the heart of all discussions is a core concern: The business of news is faced with red ink, cost reductions, staff reductions, pool reporting … the list goes on and on. If there are no (or very few) reporters and all news outlets are pooled somehow to save costs – who will do the investigative reporting?
Investigative journalism, after all, is the heart of some of the greatest accomplishments of the 4th Estate. Moving forward bloggers will definitely play a part, as will many others, but the question is still open: Who can we depend on in the future to do hard, expensive, investigative reporting?
Last night, I saw live, the future of investigative reporting in my living room. Apparently, it was the first national collaboration involving members of the Investigative News Network.
During a major New England storm, my husband and I were watching New England Cable News (NECN). On came an investigative report: The subject was shocking – rapes at college campus’s are going not only unreported, but those that are reported, unprosecuted. Rapists are getting away with attacks on campus with no criminal repercussions. The interview of a Dean at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was embarrassing. Colleges, to protect reputations, are not punishing these men and at best, giving them slaps on the wrists for their criminal actions. The report really highlighted the need to have a discussion on how best to clarify where university campus police department jurisdiction starts and stops. For certain types of crimes, I believe that the (non university) police should automatically be called in. They are extensively trained and have the investigative resources and experience to properly, and without bias, handle certain types of crimes. I seriously doubt that if there was a murder, the campus police would be allowed to conduct an investigation on their own. Where is the line or standard to bring in the (non university) police? Define that, clarify that and then educate all the students on that ... and at least some of the issues would be addressed that this report raises.
This is investigative journalism at the core, shining a light on an issue and getting people to discuss and consequently, address an important issue. As you can see this report did its job, it certainly got me talking!
How did NECN do this investigative report in this age of cost cutting and pool reporters? The answer came at the end via a long announcement. The report was the first investigation from a national collaboration called the Investigative News Network combined with collaboration from New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
Here is the attribution:
This investigative report was done in collaboration with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University, a nonprofit investigative reporting collaborative that includes the Boston Globe, El Planeta and WBUR.
Contributing to this report: NECIR’s Assoc. Director Maggie Mulvihill, NECN’s Andrea LePain, Lisa Chedekel, and Boston University Students Sarah Favot and Jaime Lutz.
Also contributing to this report was the Center for Public Integrity in Washington. This investigation was the first national collaboration involving members of the Investigative News Network.
Is the future of investigative journalism accomplished through collaborative, non profit organizations? I definitely think it will play a role.