Shining a Light

Friday, August 15, 2008

Transcript

We devote the show this week to the illustrious past and perilous future of investigative reporting. How will investigative stories fare in an era of layoffs and slashed newsrooms budgets? Reporter and UC Berkeley professor Lowell Bergman, Stephen Engelberg of the investigative nonprofit ProPublica and The City University of New York's Jeff Jarvis discuss the past, present and potential future of this core journalistic enterprise.

Comments [7]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

In the society in which we live a lot of what is called "investigative reporting" in the media today is ridiculous nit-picking or, as we discussed recently, either scandal-mongering or insider manipulation by vested interests.

While it was an interesting show, the repetition of the Hirsch segment points to one of the major flaws behind the whole concept of investigative journalism. As he says, "Are you suggesting that the American leadership learns from the past? I don't think there's much evidence of that."

Much the same can be said of the American electorate.

Aug. 22 2008 03:43 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

In the society in which we live a lot of what is called "investigative reporting" in the media today is ridiculous nit-picking or, as we discussed recently, either scandal-mongering or insider manipulation by vested interests.

While it was an interesting show, the repetition of the Hirsch segment points to one of the major flaws behind the whole concept of investigative journalism. As he says, "Are you suggesting that the American leadership learns from the past? I don't think there's much evidence of that."

Much the same can be said of the American electorate.

Aug. 22 2008 03:41 AM
Len Edgerly from Denver

This was an important, beautifully realized show. For those who gleefully expect blogging to adequately replace what the great newspapers have done to protect our liberties, this is a sobering tale.

Aug. 20 2008 11:07 AM
Madeline from NYC, NY

BRAVI... This show was a stunning achievement. One of the best, and most educational hours I've spent listening to the radio, ever. Seymore Hirsch is an American hero, and I can only hope someone decides to make a movie of his gripping, fascinating story about Mai Lai.

Newspapers may be in peril, but the investigative spirit is obviously flourishing on public radio!

Aug. 19 2008 01:04 PM
andrew hennessy from college park, md

Really good points, but while advocacy (going after the bastards) implies something, so does suspension of disbelief (objectivity and reiteration of talking points). Supporting the status quo is also advocacy.

See D Preist. She thinks part of reporting is protecting societies from reporting.

Aug. 18 2008 06:18 PM
Jack Katz from Mesa, AZ

I am an old-time NPR junkie and I hasten to say there has never been a better segment than the On The Media piece covering Investigative Reporting and it's current jeopardy. (17 Sept. 2008)
The Seymour Hirsch interview alone was worth the price of admission. Thank you for it all.
It was awe inspiring.

Aug. 18 2008 12:17 AM
Larry Geller from Honolulu

The collapse of the business model for print newspapers certainly does figure into the decline of investigative reporting. You mentioned the flight of newspapers to the web.

Unfortunately, that business model is in trouble also. Ad blocking programs are beginning to be popular. Ad Block Pro, for example, is currently the second most popular add-in for Firefox, an increasingly popular browser. Virus scan software has added features such as spam blocking, but recently including ad blocking as well.

So what will happen when advertisers catch on that web surfers don't see their ads? Will the web provide even the possibility of a safe haven for journalists and income for their newspaper employers?

Who knows. I don't have any studies or polls on this. The trouble is, I don't know if anyone else does, either. If users begin to block web ads in significant numbers, it's not just newspaper websites that will be in trouble. See the illustration from the DailyKos in my blog post:
http://disappearednews.com/2008/08/newspaper-meltdown-7-web-holds-no.html

Aug. 17 2008 03:44 AM

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