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Archive for October 11th, 2011

The end of the scoop – News:rewired notes October 2011 #newsrw

#newsrw - Collaboration in investigative journalism

Christine Spolar, FT; David Hayward, BBC CoJo; Paul Lewis, Guardian. Photo: John Thompson/Flickr

The last session I could make it to at’s News:rewired conference 2011 was on investigative journalism and its precarious future.

Before I go into more depth on what the four speakers said – I’ll start with the most reverberating statement which many readers may find contraversial – but in which all four panellists were in agreement – it’s the end of the scoop.

Here’s what it said about the session in the programme:

Collaboration in investigative journalism

  • It has often been said that collaboration is key for the future of investigative journalism, be that working in partnership with other news outlets or media bodies, or harnessing the power of the community in investigations. This session will feature advice on how best to make a go of large projects by sharing resources and inviting the community to help dig with you.

With: Iain Overton, managing editor, Bureau of Investigative Journalism; Simon Perry, founder, Ventnor Blog; Paul Lewis, special projects editor, the Guardian and Christine Spolar, investigations and special projects editor, the Financial Times.

Iain Overton – don’t let exclusivity stamp out profitable collaborations

#newsrw - Iain Overton

Iain Overton, Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Photo: John Thompson/Flickr

First up Iain Overton from Bureau of Investigative Journalism – a not-for-profit org which runs investigations for press and broadcast media. Since April 2010 TBIJ has seen 26 front pages. He was buoyant about now being a great time for investigative journalism. The Economist and FT have new investigations editor – it’s refreshing, he said when elsewhere there’s a real lack of in-depth original reporting.

Glossing over the outlook for investigative journalism, however, Overton outlined how investment is a perpetual problem – you have to think about the cost of paying journalists to live in London, lawyers and the like – you could get multi-skilled TV producers like at ITN – but there’s a to what one person can do (amen!), so you need to generate as much sales across as many platforms as possible.

But regaining an optimistic tone, Overton said there were exploitation opportunities for the web and multi-media – it’s not just about being a Sunday exclusive read – and this is where collaboration is key. In particular international collaborations. “The easiest way to find money for is international documentaries based on human rights” – he said, as there’s a ready market. But if you become too specific other commissioners get bored.

Then came Wikileaks – and the biggest media collaboration ever. But sometimes exclusivity deals can kill investigative collaborations (which Overton said the BBC was a particular cuplrit for). The model is still sustained by philanthropy – collaborations need to be subsidised. Overton ended on saying investment in investigative journalism could put more energy and financing into the beleaguered journalism industry.

#newsrw - Paul Lewis

Paul Lews Photo: John Thompson/Flickr

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