"The Survival of Investigative Journalism"
From Iraq to China, health and medicine under scrutiny
Journal Article, Columbia Journalism Review
March 24, 2008
Author: Cristine Russell, Senior Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Environment and Natural Resources
Amid the hand-wringing about the downward spiral of print economics, one recurring fear has been the fate of expensive, time-consuming investigative journalism. With less money, fewer reporters and the need to feed the twenty-four-hour news monster, will newspapers and magazines still be willing and able to invest in investigative projects that tackle the tough issues of mismanagement and malfeasance in their own backyards or in the world at large?
A recent Harvard journalism roundtable featuring prize-winning investigative reporters who have uncovered health scandals from Iraq to China suggested that while a few big papers-at least for the moment-are still putting a premium on investigative coverage, other regional and local papers are struggling to do so.
Celebrated Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, whose 2007 series "The Other Walter Reed" created an uproar about the poor medical care of injured Iraq veterans in the shadow of the nation’s capitol, said that “at the Post, investigative reporting is one of the things we’re able to make a difference in that not everyone else can.” Thus far, Priest, who won a 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her investigative coverage of the CIA and the war on terror, said she has not seen serious cutbacks in investigative reporting despite the recent Post announcement of new cost-cutting staff buyouts.
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