Do we really need investigative journalist?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A recent blog begged the question, "what next for investigative journalism in a world of information overload?" The post can be read in entirety here. It made a very compelling case for the need, or rather lack there of, for investigative journalist due to the plethora of information that is now completely at our own disposal. It also made a great one for the reason why we still in fact need it.

At first thought, I immediately jumped to the side that argued we do not need them. I can do just about any "uncovering" whenever I want, however I want, and wherever I want, so why do I still need someone to do it for me? The Internet alone seems to do a pretty incredible job helping me solve any lingering inquires I may have on almost every subject matter.

On second thought, however, I decided I may have made my decision a bit haste-fully. In reality, there are more things I learn from these journalist who seek out the truth than I could ever accomplish on my own. For example, the article mentioned stories that were not new, but still had questions that needed to be answered. It is the work of investigative journalists that solves these unknowns.

The blog also mentioned a crucial role of these investigative individuals as holding power to account. This may be the most important aspect of their jobs because they have the leverage as journalist to see that this happens. If there is not a checks and balances on power, then where does that leave those of us without power? It is the beauty of journalism and investigative journalists that allows this exchange to occur, and allows us as the reader to be more informed, engaged, and active participants of this world.


David Wiley September 5, 2011 at 8:58 AM  

Last semester at DMACC I was able to take a course called Detective Fiction. I took it with the knowledge that it was a genre I never really explored beyond a few Sherlock Holmes short stories from time to time. The thing I ended up enjoying most was reading about their investigative practices.

While an investigative journalist may not be quite the same, they serve a similar purpose. They are able to serve as the checks and balances for people in power; they can expose corruption and deceit at any level. A true investigative journalist would be able to set personal opinion aside and get to the real truth.

In a world where there is so much information available, as well as many corrupt scandals that seem to pop up, I think there is certainly as much of a need for an investigative journalist now as there was back during the Watergate scandal. Until we reach the day when everyone is willing to be honest at all times, no matter the consequences, there will always be a place for them.

Lyndsy Darland September 5, 2011 at 6:09 PM  

I really enjoyed this blog post. I had the same knee jerk reaction to the side of not needing investigative journalists. The same mentality, "I'm intelligent, I can research, etc."
The other side after further contemplation holds more water for me personally. When I set and analyze this, I realize that the experiences of the investigative reporter is that of anyone with tenure is a job. They know where to look, who to ask, and how to deliver the information recovered.
I admit, I am not the avid consumer of this style of knowledge, however, I will be the first to admit the need for this role (particularly) if it is news that directly effects me. I want the nitty gritty in those instances. An investigative journalist can give me that.

Mike Tweeton September 5, 2011 at 8:01 PM  

Great Post Megan.

This brings up a crucial question regarding media on the internet, especially social media outlets: How do we know this information is accurate?

Essentially, readers have two options. They can accept information for face value, or become their own investigative source, researching stories and info to determine what is accurate.

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