Monday, December 6, 2010

[pima.nius] REGION: Investigative journalists face challenges of their future

10:52 AM |




Title – 7154 REGION: Investigative journalists face challenges of  their future
Date – 5 December 2010
Byline – Kim Bowden
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Pacific Scoop, 4/12/10
Copyright: PS
Status – Unabridged
----------------------------
* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
www.pacmediawatch.aut.ac.nz

* Post a comment on this story at PMW Right of Reply:
www.pacificmediacentre.blogspot.com
pmediawa@aut.ac.nz

* Pacific Media Centre on Twitter - http://twitter.com/pacmedcentre

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF THEIR CRAFT
http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2010/12/mijt-conference-investigative-journalists-discuss-the-future-of-their-craft-2/

By Kim Bowden

AUCKLAND (Pacific Scoop/Pacific Media Watch): "Investigative journalism is to media what poetry is to the literary world," argue industry experts at a conference in Auckland - it is vital but it will never make any money.

Journalists and media academics from Nepal, Australia, New Zealand and several other Asia-Pacific countries tackled issues surrounding the future of longer-form investigative journalism during a panel discussion at the Media, Investigative Journalism and Technology 2010 conference at AUT University this weekend.

The conference - first of its kind in New Zealand - was organised by AUT's Pacific Media Centre.

The panellists, chaired by the presenter of TVNZ7's Backbenchers programme, Wallace Chapman, agreed good investigative journalism is essential if the industry hopes to continue its core function of holding the powers that be to account.

Independent New Zealand journalist Jon Stephenson said investigative work was "the core business" of journalism, making the comparison that without it, the industry is like "a hospital where you do elective surgery but no emergency or trauma."

Funding and the future
Uncertainty and debate centres around how to fund and distribute investigative stories in a corporate-driven media environment, say the panellists.

Bill Birnbauer, who has 35-years experience working for various Australian newspapers, said that in the same way poetry had its merits yet generally was not commercially viable and needed to be subsidised to survive, so too investigative journalism.

"The future for investigative journalism lies outside of mainstream media," he said.

Birnbauer suggested a funding model that relies on donations from government and NGOs as one way of providing for investigative work.

Wendy Bacon, director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, said while there was still interest for longer-form stories in the 21st century, story lengths in newspapers were continually being cut.

She said non-fiction books written by journalists were on the increase, as well as documentary films, as a means for journalists to tell their stories.

Key role for universities
Both Birnbauer and Bacon argued universities had a role to play in the future of investigative journalism and Bacon highlighted numerous investigative projects she had been involved in with university students.

Birnbauer said going forward, universities around the globe needed to collaborate further on such projects, to better carry out the Fourth Estate role.

"I will tentatively call it 'university muckrakers'," joked Birnbauer.

He said the concept of collaboration between commercial news publishers and independents is also an interesting new trend, challenging the traditional and "arrogant" mindset held by newspapers of "why would we take someone else's copy?"

He referred to major stories published this year by both the Washington Post and the New York Times under the "ProPublica byline". ProPublica describes itself as "an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest".

Stephenson, who has worked independently as a journalist in Afghanistan and Iraq, was less optimistic about the ease with which longer-form investigative pieces by independent journalists can be published, in New Zealand at least, and half-joked, "independent journalism can be a synonym for poor".

Investigative ideas not 'sexy'
"There seems to be a perception among people who call the shots in media…people aren't interested in heavyweight stories," he said.

"Ideas aren't sexy.

"It's very, very tough to get any traction for investigative stories."

Although online media is being touted as "the holy grail," Stephenson's answer to the question of where to publish investigative stories was in mainstream media, which still had the "punching power."

Panel contributor Kunda Dixit, publisher of the Nepali Times who was also keynote speaker, said too often online work got "lost in the tail" of mass information online.

"Yes, the space is there, but is anyone reading you?" he asked.

Dixit was cautious of Birnbauer's suggestion of a possible funding model for investigative journalism which relied on donations and other support from governments or NGOs, such as Amnesty International, and said it had the potential to compromise the independence of the media, especially in the developing world.

He said traditional media, especially newspapers and radio stations, was "booming" in the developing world, in contrast to the situation in Western countries.

Kim Bowden has been studying toward a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies at AUT University.

* More MIJT conference stories and pictures on Pacific Scoop: www.pacific.scoop.co.nz

* Other conferences stories at Pacific Scoop: www.pacific.scoop.nz
 
* Comment on this item pmediawa@aut.ac.nz

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE
www.pacmediawatch.aut.ac.nz

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is a media and educational resource compiled by the AUT Pacific Media Centre for the Pacific region.

(c)1996-2010 Creative Commons
http://creativecommons.org

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original  producers as indicated in the header. Recipients should seek permission
from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not  wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views
of PMW or the Pacific Media Centre.

For further information or joining the Pacific Media Watch listserve, visit:
http://lists.apc.org.au/listinfo.cgi/pacific_media_watch?apc.org.au

Email:
pmc@aut.ac.nz
Fax: (+649) 921 9987
SnailMail: Pacific Media Centre, School of Communication Studies, AUT
University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Website: www.pacmediawatch.aut.ac.nz
_______________________________________________
Pacific_media_watch mailing list
Pacific_media_watch@lists.apc.org.au

_______________________________________________
Pacific_media_watch mailing list
Pacific_media_watch@lists.apc.org.au


--
----------------------------------------
pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
----------------------------------------
The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information. Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications.
 
DISCLAIMER: These emails are unedited and discussions made through this googlegroup are unmoderated. Announcements made through this googlegroup do not constitute endorsement for the organisations, individuals or opinions featured. Please check the integrity of organisations and individuals before exchanging personal information with them.
 
- - - - - - - - -
comment here:
http://groups.google.com/group/pima-nius/topics?hl=en
 
send an email comment here:
pima-nius@googlegroups.com
 
unsubscribe:
pima-nius+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
 
more options
http://groups.google.com/group/pima-nius?hl=en?hl=en
 
- - - - - - - - -

0 comments: