Town Square

Investigative reporting: pay now or pay later?

Original post made by Gina Channell-Allen, Danville, on Apr 26, 2009

Tuesday morning I read that the New York Times earned five Pulitzer Prizes, including awards for breaking news and investigative reporting. Three stories above that announcement in the media news electronic digest I receive daily was a report that the New York Times Company ad revenue “plunged” 27 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Robert Rosenthal, a long-time reporter and editor with several well-respected and well-known newspapers, is now the executive director at the Center for Investigative Reporting. Rosenthal spoke recently about the disappearance of the “watchdog” role of newspapers and earlier this week spoke on PBS Online NewsHour, hosted by Jim Lehrer. about how loss of revenues will for the most part lead to the loss of investigative reporting.

Rosenthal said, in essence, it takes time and talent to produce investigative pieces. Unfortunately in most newsrooms today there is not enough time to allot to “projects” because there are newsholes to fill. And the talented journalists are often the highest paid and, therefore, the first to be laid off.

Here are two links, one from the above-mentioned interview and another from a recent piece on CBS Sunday Morning. I found them thought-provoking and somewhat disturbing. What are your thoughts?

Web Link

Web Link

By the way, I’m rereading “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. Should this be required reading for everyone?


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Posted by Fuch's Neighbor
a resident of Danville
on Jun 22, 2009 at 3:42 pm

When I read your comments re:investigative reporting I immediately thought of a local incident that warrants thorough reporting yet is ignored by the Weekly,Times,etc.We are fortunate that homicides occur infrequently in Danville,consequently you would think that our Police Dept. would be anxious to conduct their investigation in a transparent and aggressive manner that would cause locals to feel secure in trusting public safety protection.I don't believe the lack of reporting is a money issue,it's just that the investigative work is difficult and time-consuming and editors don't support the effort.Mind you, this is a homicide that occurred in Jan.about which you have read nothing! The obvious first question is,"Why has noone been charged with this crime?"

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Posted by PT Tuttle
a resident of Danville
on Nov 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Journalism is nearly dead in the US. The lack of insightful, unbiased reporting across the spectrum of TV and newspapers is appalling. This includes the NY Times, which is so far in the bag for Obama and the Democrats, and so rabidly anti-Bush and the Republicans, that it is incapable of providing unbiased, unfiltered news to the public and thus fails to fulfill journalism's role as the "5th estate", namely, to properly and truthfully inform the citizens so as to provide a counter-weight to the politicians and bureacrats. Hopefully Danville Express will rpovide a venue for honest reporting.

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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Nov 16, 2009 at 10:59 am

I agree with Gina -- print journalism is in trouble because it can't compete on ad price (esp. classifieds) or speed with the web. And I think something is certainly lost in terms of the role of newspapers in muckraking and holding those-in-power to account. Since Investigations are the one thing that bloggers don't do well becuase of expense and other factors, maybe newspapers should focus on That niche?

As to whether the Times was fair to the Bushies, PTT, please remember that they are in the business of hard-bitten journalism. They've left the puff pieces you seek to those novelists and Creative Writing majors over at Faux News.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Danville
on Dec 24, 2009 at 8:58 am

I viewed the YouTube video and scanned the PBS interview.

There seems to continue to be confusion by publishers of the "Newspaper Business" and the "News Business".

Consumers want the News. Today, more and more people are comfortable with it over the web. News is a commodity that has gone through and evolution of being 'packaged & delivered' differently.

Six years ago I subscribed to 3 papers (SF Chron, Investors Bus Daily & CC Times); now only subscribe to the Times; not sure why, though.

The comment that there is 'less news' now is absurd. There is more news & analysis available on the web than ever before.

Investigative journalism does not start & end in the "news room" of a newspaper. Times have changed.

Next thing that might change is that people buy books without the paper ... oh, gee ... that's happening now.

Generational gaps & perspectives are at play here, also. My 35 year old son is more versed in current events (internationally and local) than ever before. He NEVER picked up the paper at home or even watched any news on TV. So I belive more people are more well-informed today than ever before.

I don't expect news on the internet to be 'free'. I would have no problem paying 'micro payments' to news organizations.

It seems like there is a desire to use the "old mold" to deliver a basic commoditiy when new Delivery Systems are what the majority of the users want. Time to change "newspaper industry" to "news industry".

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Posted by SUE
a resident of Danville
on Jan 1, 2010 at 7:51 am

Every morning I sneeze, and cough, and swear at the Soy ink! I pay for the daily crossword puzzle in the CC Times. Not for the news.