Times are tough for all media — particularly newspapers and television. And both mediums are cutting journalists left and right. But former WESH reporter Stephen Stock — now at CBS O&O WFOR in Miami — makes a case for keeping investigative journalism alive.
In the latest edition of its “From the Field” segment on TVSpy.com, Stock says, “serious journalists who exist to break significant enterprise news, who dig up truth to hold the powerful accountable, who write stories that those in power don’t want the public to know, those investigative and value added journalists must fight the perception that we are expendable. We need more investigative journalists, not fewer. Without independent, aggressive journalists to set independent outlets apart, the media merely become the acquiescent mouthpiece for those with the power to feed us press releases and spin.”
Stock explains how investigative reporters have been among the groups targeted when stations make cuts. “When I first wrote about this issue for Electronic News early this year I knew of a half dozen investigative journalists who’d lost their jobs. Now, I know of more than two dozen who’ve been laid off or had their units dissolved. What does that mean to those of us who are left?”
His suggestions for investigative reporters:
- Think like a bean counter as well as an investigator.
- Learn to promote how much investigative journalism contributes to rather than takes away from the bottom line.
- Learn to work across media platforms, even if that means giving up old prejudices about what “the guys in the newspaper” or “on the web team” do which, in the past, we couldn’t be bothered with doing.