Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post says “Tightened Belts Could Put Press In a Pinch“:
Real investigative reporting, as opposed to the what-happened-yesterday stuff, is time-consuming, risky and expensive. And as one news organization after another sheds staff in this tough financial climate, it’s worth considering what aggressive journalism has produced lately.
Yes, worth considering. But it’s also worth remembering the Big Media aren’t the only places where aggressive journalism occurs.
One, which has been around for a while, is the Center for Public Integrity, which does brilliant investigative journalism. It relies on grants and donations, a business model that has supported terrific stuff.
Another, newer project, is Jay Rosen’s budding NewAssignment.net, which has a chance to help redefine the nature of the investigative project in a networked age.
And let’s not forget that the best reporting on government spying on Americans has been done by that famous journalism organization (not), the American Civil Liberties Union. A new report, based on information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, is an example.
We should worry about the economic implosion that is costing jobs and sapping resources from investigative reporting. But many in the Big Media have been losing their appetite for this for some time.
We need to find ways to move ahead on the assumption that the negative trend will continue.