Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Investigative Journalism in the Internet Age

This week, internationally renown and syndicated journalist Dan Rather released his latest book entitled "Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News," which chronicles Rather's 60 years (with no intentions of stopping!) career in print and broadcast journalism. In his book, Rather argues that the gathering and dissemination of news as we know it is in a state of peril.

Though this bit of information is nothing new and certainly nothing ground-breaking, Rather made an interesting point of how the progression of news √° la the "Internet Age" is affecting the realm of investigative journalism. He argues that since the networks are part of large (money-making) conglomerates no longer find use for investigative journalism.

In an interview with MSNBC, Rather states that "the problem [with investigative reporting in the Internet Age] is with very few exceptions. No one figured out the business model where you can make enough money for the investigative reporting and the international reporting."

"What's interesting that we are getting less and less investigative reporting and now hungry the public is for it. The model is not broken because people don't want it - it's broken for all kinds of other reasons. When we published long, long stories which you wouldn't think people are told would sustain their interest, people eat it up," he adds. 

It was interesting for me to stumble upon this article when this week, guest speaker Jeff Brazil covered the same concepts with a similar answer. He asserted - with his engaging anecdotes of the "glory days" when newspapers were owned by families - that since news networks were now being tightly controlled by conglomerates, it is much more difficult to find a reason to continue investigative journalism.

Dan Rather gave a simple answer to that question in the aforementioned statement. The reason investigative journalism should continue in spite of corporate interests and the progression of online media is because the people desire it. Readers are intrigued by the details of a particularly scandalous or surprising story - it's what makes the notion of "free press" so great. The people have exercised their right to free press, as evident in the massive growth of citizen journalism in recent ages, and are demanding more representation than ever. Investigative journalism, though not a medium that is particularly profitable, is something that readers (consumers) want. All that other journalism is great, but to allow one of the greatest forms of journalism die a slow, painful death would be a travesty to the industry as a whole. New networks and media conglomerates, are you listening? 

Watch Dan Rather's interview with MSNBC in its entirety:

No comments:

Post a Comment