Investigative Reporting is the Driving Force in Journalism Essay

Investigative Reporting is the Driving Force in Journalism Essay

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Investigative reporting has been a driving force in journalism for centuries. The reporting tradition of revealing misconduct was already well established much before the 20th Century. Its practise even predates the publication of the first successful colonial newspaper in 1704, demonstrating the press’ watchdog role has had deep historical roots in democracy much prior to the 1960s. Over the past three centuries, investigative reporters have tried to make a difference by raising public consciousness about perceived wrongdoings. Prior to the early 1960s, investigative reporting was highly localised and sporadic. This was a reflection of the character of early journalism and the technological limits of communication. It was not until the 20th century that a unique combination of forces combined to create a sustained era of national exposures. (Reference)
By the 1960s, investigative journalism started to prosper more than ever before. The media industry had started to become a more acknowledged industry, with not only the elites of society making use of print, radio and TV journalism but also everyday civilians. Reporters also saw a change in their roles as journalists. Reporters saw the press’s responsibilities to include being “an investigator, a watchdog on government, an interpreter of the news, and an educator to the masses” (Aucoin, 2005). A new ‘golden age’ of journalism during the 1960s to 1970s had begun. Investigative journalism began to thrive for a number of reasons. In the 1960s, British newspapers faced competition from television and radio, so newspapers became bigger, and filled the space with big features and picture reporting. At the same time there was a climate of scepticism and irreverence that made investigativ...


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...ens of other expose stories. Some of these include a policeman prosecuted for the unlawful killing of a bystander at the G20 demonstrations, revelations released by Wikileaks, the MP expense scandal and more wrongdoers brought to justice all thanks to the investigators of the journalistic world. Some newspapers are the natural home for investigative reporters. The Guardian, for example, not only revealed the phone-hacking case, but also the G20 verdict and the Wikileak cables. The Daily Telegraph, not previously known for its exploratory work, did impressive work on the MP Expenses Scandal in 2009, where it simply bought the stolen data from an insider and exploited it slowly, surely and deliberately. So unlike Stephan Dorrill’s opinion that investigative journalism is now effectively dead”, the many examples portray that journalism is alive and well in the Britain.

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