Investigative journalism can be most simply be defined as uncovering something hidden (Conley & Lamble, p 36). With the evolution of online news which has seen the production & distribution of news become even faster, the survival of investigative journalism is somewhat threatened.
The biggest issues facing investigative journalism are lack of funds and lack of time to pursue a story to the depth that is required.
Often investigative articles can take months or even years and cost many dollars in terms of travel. These high expenses are something not a lot of newsroom can afford with the budget cuts and shrinking newsrooms in today’s society.
The survival of investigative journalism is imperative. This is because it is often through investigative journalism that secrets are uncovered, knowledge of breaches of power come to light and whistleblowers given a safe haven to be heard. Whistleblowers are valuable news sources.
There is exceptionally less investigative journalism being carried out now than there was in the 1980’s. The public’s attention span and support for investigative journalism has shrunk, this can be seen by the trend of entertainment and ‘lighter’ stories (Minchin 2001).
Although online journalism in some way hinders investigative journalism, it is also can help. Bloggers and citizen journalists can act as building blocks and bring issues to the attention of journalists which they may have previously missed.
Investigative journalism is a very important part of journalism, and failure to report on it & to read about it will see communities become ignorant to what is really going on, not only in their backyard but around the world.
I believe investigative journalism will survive the cutting of costs and the introduction of online news. This is because there will always be people who want to know – curiosity is human nature, and it is also human nature to dig and dig until the answer is found.
Minchin, L 2001, ‘Digging in the dirt’, Four Corners, 20 August, viewed 8 October 2012, ABC News, <http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/4c40/essays/minchin.htm>
The Daily Miracle: an introduction to journalism by David Conley & Stephen Lamble