Posts Tagged ‘bureau of investigative journalism’

An interesting piece there was in OpenDemocracy this week on Investigative Comment.

Oodles has been written about who the hell is going to fund investigative journalism in the coming years. From my own experience working for mainstream media organisations, it is not going to be easy. That’s why new set ups such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, replete with philanthropic assistance, are going to be so important.  But there is plenty they can’t do.

Interestingly, the winner of this year’s Bevins Prize for Investigative Journalism went not to a classic ‘journalist’, but to Clare Sambrook, part of a team from End Child Detention Now. They worked on exposing the issue of child detention in the UK, and bringing it to a wider audience.

Increasingly, it is going to be up to die-hard campaigners to bring such information to the fore in a world where media organisations aren’t putting up the same amount of cash to expose information as vested interest groups are forking out to keep it hidden.

As an aside, Sambrook goes on to explain in the above-linked piece as to why the myth of ‘fair and balanced’ journalism needs to be debunked, or rather coupled with comment and opinion writing. No one wants comment from someone who hasn’t put in the hard yards and phone calls, she says, and wholly impartial journalism can only truly be expected in the true sense of reporting facts.

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Kent Brockman
Image via Wikipedia

I just the other day finished reading the utterly commendable Flat Earth News by Guardian sleuth Nick Davies (now adding his weight to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, for whom I had the pleasure the other week of providing some painstaking, important but very dull work for), and have had it mulling around my head since.

It says so much about the news media when the quote Davies picks comes from the mouth of one of the all time great newsreaders, Kent Brockman of Smartline (that would be of The Simpsons fame, non-appreciat0rs):

“Reporters used to expose corruption and corporate greed. Now, like toothless babies, they suckle at the teat of misinformation and poop it into the diaper called the six-o’clock news.”

In digging out the quote (i.e., so I could just copy and paste it), I came across a page of Brockman gems on the imdb site, such as:

Kent Brockman: Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?
Professor: Yes I would, Kent.

And for us web-heads:

Kent Brockman: Excuse me, did you see the six o’clock news?
Comic Book Guy: No, I get my news from the internet, like a normal person under seventy. Farewell, dinosaur.

And funded by Fox the whole time. Crazy world.

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There is hope, oh lovers of accountability, democracy, and whopping big come-uppances.

Just received word from a colleague that investigative journalists are actually being hired in London.

Iain Overton, a former executive producer of mine at More4 News (ITN), was recently appointed Managing Editor of the newly-founded Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It’s the first project of its kind in the UK, and has support from hugely-respected Seymour Hersh, and author of the worrying but timely Flat Earth News (currently doing my young journalistic brain in), Nick Davies.

“People from print, online and broadcast backgrounds are encouraged to apply, provided they understand how to conduct long term investigations, have a grasp of media law and are able to work both alone and heading up a small team.  Skills such as being able to understand financial data, how to carry out Fois and languages are all assets.”

So there you have it. Life in the old format yet. Hoorah!  Get in touch with ’em at jobs@tbij.com if you fit the bill.