Good investigative journalism is hard to come by, more so for local and regional papers who do not have the time or resources to dig too far. And how many journalists know of local crooks out there but do not have the time, and sometimes the editorial backing, to just get the evidence?
A good piece of investigative journalism can make a career, look at David Leigh of The Guardian who uncovered the dirty dealings of British Arms giant BAE or Watergate’s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward (a.k.a Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, hehe).
I only mention Watergate because I am about to cross the Atlanticand ask the perpetual question –
Is American media more savvy than the UK’s?
Or in other words are they ahead of the curve and breathing fresh air into the newspaper industry more than in this country? I only ask because I am truly curious that the websites and news that have really grabbed my eye these past few months have been American ones…so what’s going on?
Well, first all with investigative journalism, the best pieces in the UK are found in traditional media usually through broadsheets or specialist magazines like The Internationalist/New Scientist/the Economist.
In the US though, the Huffington Post, a fantastic on-line news site (big fan, needs to be RSSd) has announced plans to raise money for investigative journalism projects (according to Robert Macmillan’s blog). Where the money will go, who knows but only three months til further news is announced.
Then there is the emergence of purely investigative sites like sharesleuth.com, bailoutsleuth.com, who reports on financial wrongdoings, and propublica.org which really adds some spice to online news, even if the news is a tad bit over my head.
In the UK, well I suppose The Telegraph has just announced a 5-minute political show on its website offering comment and debate, The Telegraph has always been ahead of the curve, it does have a lot of money, a lot of which was used for the redevelopment of their newsroom not even a year ago and for the hiring of online marketing people and journalists.
I must say though that the BBC are probably the only prudent company looking at the future, they have good political commentary, still fund investigative journalism, have innovative news analysis pieces and are overall reliable with the financial backing to be risk-takers.
Maybe that’s the problem, could we be relying on the BBC too much? Taking up the mantle and leading the way through this dark labyrinth that is techno-land? We should shout no more, we should hasten and create the environment where we too can be innovative with our news, after all if we always follow the BBC’s lead on online creativeness then it will be them who will get the glory and highest web traffic.
We could also have endless talks about the free newspaper wars all over the world, but I won’t.
To put the finishing touches in this polemic, I find the US media coming out ahead, it is not a question of is it bad or good, or should we be jealous and start a riot, rather this is just an observation.
We must now candidly question: Why is the USA coming out ahead of the curve in new media?