WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Mon - 24.11.2014


investigative journalism

Reporters Lisa Song, Elizabeth McGowan and David Hasemyer’s seven-month investigation into the 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill revealed details that preceded national reports by weeks, despite InsideClimate News’ limited funding. Founder and Publisher David Sassoon estimated, salaries included, InsideClimate News spent only 10 percent of what a major newsroom would have budgeted for a similar investigation, according to Forbes.

With reporters and contributors now scattered across the globe, in Istanbul, New Delhi, Boston and San Diego, the startup has come a long way from its original two-person staff. But this recognition could thrust it even further forward: Sassoon told Forbes he envisions a staff of around 25 and a newsroom in New York.

“I think it’s a game changer,” Sassoon said of the award. “I think the Pulitzer Committee probably knew that. We earned the award. ... But I think they would understand how validation from them, the top honor in journalism, would make a big difference to us as a tiny startup.”

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-17 13:42

Even if a journalist manages to track down an expert in the relevant field of knowledge, it is not guaranteed that this individual will be at ease as an interviewee on TV or radio. New Canadian start-up, mediaspotme.com – launched just over a month ago, on 11 March 2013 – provides a much-needed solution to this common problem, which continues to compromise the quality of journalists' efforts to write in an informed manner on specific areas (often niche topics such as robotics, which is the example provided by the website’s explanatory video). Media Spot Me makes expert research readily accessible to journalists, offering a diversity of points of view on a wealth of disciplines.

The relationships established by Media Spot Me are far from one-way. Whilst the specialist brings a "fresh voice" and a plethora of knowledge to the journalist's piece, they too profit from this collaboration with the media – the site points out that "media exposure helps [the expert] to be seen as a leader in [their] field," hereby winning them added credibility in the wider world. Media Spot Me helps the journalist to "[find] the person with the right expertise" and to profit from this expertise, whilst the expert gains visibility and may get job offers off the back of their interview with the journalist.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-15 16:52

The trip was advertised on a student group website as an educative “week of sight seeing, meeting with ministers, [and] government officials,” The New York Times reported, but the students ran the risk of arrest and incarceration were the filming discovered.

“For us, this is a matter of student welfare — students were lied to, they weren’t able to give their consent,” Alex Peters-Day, general secretary of the LSE’s student union, told the BBC. She added: “They’ve used students essentially as a human shield in this situation.”

Students knew they would be accompanied by a journalist, but they were not aware that investigative reporter John Sweeney, his wife and a cameraman had orchestrated the trip to film a documentary, LSE Director Craig Calhoun wrote. Sweeney, who graduated from the LSE in 1980, allowed North Korean guides to call him “professor,” according to The New York Times.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-15 16:21

Although the news site is left-leaning, and has previously been accused of trying to bring down the French right-wing by exposing the Sarkozy-Bettencourt scandal, it recently proved that it can do investigative journalism without a left-leaning political agenda by exposing the 'affaire Cahuzac'. Jérôme Cahuzac, the Socialist minister in charge of tax enforcement until last month, has himself been exposed for concealing money in bank accounts abroad for more than two decades, and has finally, thanks in part to Mediapart, been forced to confess that he is still storing €600,000 in a Singapore account.

This significant act of French investigative journalism inevitably prompts reflection that, in the UK, the new Royal Charter will make it increasingly difficult to carry out investigative journalism of this kind without encountering hefty damages and demands for amendments and apologies. Mediapart is a shining example of the independent press, working to expose injustice and to uphold democratic values "at a time of historic crises in the media and society as a whole."

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-04 16:54

“It’s pretty shocking to see what’s become of the time-honored form since the newspaper industry’s great unraveling started a decade ago,” Starkman wrote.

The industry saw a steady rise of long-form contextual journalism from the 1950s to the early 2000s, according to a new report by Katherine Fink and Michael Schudson of Columbia University. But Starkman’s research suggests that such in-depth coverage might have peaked about a decade ago.

Starkman examined The L.A. Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and reported that all but The New York Times saw steep declines in their long-form coverage. The Post’s 2,000 word stories dropped about 50 percent between 2003 and 2012, and The Journal’s fell 35 percent. These declines are even sharper for 3,000 word stories: The L.A. Times saw a 90 percent decrease and The Journal a 70 percent decrease.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-03-15 16:57

The first Latin American Forum on Digital Media and Journalism took place last Friday, 23 November, in Mexico City. Organised by the magazine Distintas Latitudes, Mexican digital publication Animal Político, and the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, the Forum granted an open invitation to discuss the state of journalism in Latin America and to consider the benefits and obstacles in conducting investigative journalism exclusively from digital platforms. The Forum concluded with ideas for new business models, more accountable, transparent reporting, and the need to return to the basics of quality journalism.

The Forum has been conceived at a time when the issue of organised crime is prevalent in the lives of Latin Americans and largely absent from local print newspapers. Why is this the case?

Author

Gilda Di Carli's picture

Gilda Di Carli

Date

2012-11-30 16:45

“Investigative reporting became sexy after Watergate,” wrote Alicia Shepard, media consultant for the News Literacy Project, in The New York Times’ Room for Debate forum on the lasting effects of the scandal, published yesterday.

The tenacious pursuit of a story by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein ultimately played an integral part in driving President Richard Nixon out of the White House, and this "sexy" triumph of truth over power, further romanticized in the book and movie that followed (“All the President’s Men”) prompted a “sharp rise in investigative reporting,” wrote Sheperd.

This included the opening of a number of investigative units by newspapers and television stations, and the founding in 1975 – the year after Nixon resigned – of the Investigative Reporters & Editors group (IRE), a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to foster excellence in investigative journalism, which is essential to a free society.”

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-06-14 18:58

This is a guest post by Gill Moodie, a South African journalist who covers the media. She blogs at Grubstreet.co.za and writes weekly media columns and stories for Bizcommunity, and Wits University’s Journalism.co.za.

There is a lot of courageous, excellent investigative work going on in African countries.

In South Africa, investigative teams focus on busting political corruption whereas much of the in-depth investigative work going on in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda is about social issues and related problems.

“There’s a tendency to see investigative journalism in South Africa as the journalistic equivalent of a private investigation – getting inside information and getting leaks,” said Derek Luyt of the Public Service Accountability Monitor, who has worked with investigative journalists across the continent.

“There’s also a move towards data journalism [in SA], but we needn’t be so precious about defining investigative journalism and [making it only about] busting corruption. If you take a slightly broader view, then Africa is chock-a-block with brilliant investigative journalism.”

Author

Guest

Date

2012-06-13 11:49

Felix Salmon of Reuters put forth a controversial business proposition involving The New York Times in an article yesterday: why not charge hedge funds a fee in order to receive breaking news of investigative stories a full trading day before publication?

Salmon came to this conclusion when the value of Wal-Mart’s shares plunged after the Times published an exposé over the weekend about alleged bribery of Mexican officials by the company, he said in the article.

Noting how much the piece affected the stock market, Salmon suggested that the Times could take advantage of this influence by allowing corporate clients early access to such investigative material for a price, which could supplement the paper’s losses in revenue.

“But how much would hedge funds pay to be able to see the NYT’s big investigative stories during the trading day prior to the appearance of the story?” Salmon wrote. “It’s entirely normal, and perfectly ethical, for news organizations, including Reuters, to give faster access to the best-paying customers.”

Author

Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-25 16:21

Yesterday, Columbia University announced the winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, letters, drama, and music—and among the distinguished few were online news organizations The Huffington Post and Politico, according to a Columbia press release.

The reputable Pulitzer Prizes, established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer in his will and administrated by Columbia University since 1917, are “perceived as a major incentive for high-quality journalism,” according to the website.

These are the first Pulitzer wins for both The Huffington Post and Politico. A complete list of winners is available on the Pulitzer website.

David Wood, senior military correspondent for The Huffington Post, received a prize for National Reporting for his “Beyond the Battlefield” series, which highlighted “the physical and emotional challenges facing American soldiers severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan during a decade of war,” the release said.

Author

Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-17 13:28

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