Involvement - Investigative Journalists - whatever happened to them? Series 3 of 3

DeAnna C. UtzStarred Page By DeAnna C. Utz, 30th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

"Investigative Journalism....whatever happened to them?" A well put, inside, question by an American's 'elitist' television's show's comedic star, Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" - but shows and articles have told of late of the demise and slipping away of "investigative journalism" since 2010, and journalists haven't sprouted in popularity as far back as the Woodward and Bernstein report of the infamous "Watergate" scandal.

Investigative Journalists using the World Wide Web

You might find a few articles about investigative journalism just by a search on Google, and there’s not too many or none written any where prior to 1980; and the few I found in this century were only written as far back as 2010. So there’s not a lot of interest in articles about either the shrinking of investigative journalism or its upwards rise in the way journalists are handling the investigative side of their careers. Only one came out in August of 2014, “ Why We’re Living in the Golden Age of Investigative Journalism, --- with the scandals that came out about Edward Snowden and others. The only one earlier than that was in November of 2010, “How Investigative Journalism is Prospering in the Age of Social Media”, - and that article was about how journalists are using social media websites as their investigative tools as “to enrich their stories”, and that “socialization of the web is revolutionizing the traditional story format”.
I suppose that article in 2010 was written because of the ease of using the Internet to look up certain things for investigative journalists’ articles made it easier for them to trek using their fingers instead of their feet, as it used to be that way before the Internet exploded for all of us computer users. Although many journalists that we see on the “telly” have done their footwork (homework) for their reports, as we expect them to do for good, in depth, exposure type reporting, those are the ones who are excluded from this article.
But there are just very few of those who do their footwork, involvingthemselves in finding out the real truths behind their investigations, their involvement into why they report and write up their “journals” for their audiences.

Definition

Dictionary.com”s definition: to search out and examine the particulars of in an attempt to learn the facts about something hidden, unique, or complex, especially in an attempt to find a motive, cause, or culprit. Investigative; origin from 1500-1600’s. Journalism sense is from 1951.” ---- Maybe that’s when journalism had its beginnings, or its “sense” of journalism?
Wikipedia’s definition: “Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report.”

“Months or years researching and preparing a report”? That might have been way before the Internet came around to explode millions of websites for easier research, but I think Wikipedia is using the “old school” of investigative journalism in this context. Maybe that was how the schooling of investigative journalism was introduced to journalists, to get them involved long ago.

How the Infamous “Watergate” scandal of the Century “shaped investigative journalist”

If you were to look for any movies that came out about journalists and their investigations, you might find very few and maybe movies made back in the earlier years of the 20th century, except for one that was back in 1972 of the infamous “Watergate”, scandal that two very prominent journalists, Woodward and Bernstein decided to investigate after hearing a police report of a break-in at the famous hotel, “Watergate”. Years later, in 1976, the movie “All the Presidents Men”, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman cast as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, came out on how the Watergate scandal on one of our past Presidents, Richard Nixon, exposed one the most reported and televised scandals of the year, if not the century. It wasn't one of those action, shoot-em-up, type of movies, but it was a thriller type, in which the audience would have to think about how they came up with their investigating procedures and the intrigue it left on the footprints of our history that left a little of a sour note on part of our histories of U.S. presidents. We can assume that the movie’s producers had done their own investigative journalism by involving themselves with the real reporters of that year in 1972 when the story broke out; or they investigated the televised portions of that scandal of Watergate so that their movie, and the starring cast they hired who aspired into many more movies that made them more famous, would be worth the while to see this film. Watergate’s Legacy and the Press,” “Watergate shaped the way investigative reporting is perceived and practiced and how political leaders and the public respond to journalists. For a time, too many reporters rushed too quickly to find their own Watergate. They made notable mistakes and often gave each new scandal, no matter how trivial, the “-gate” suffix. Governments, public officials, corporations, executives and courts pushed back with public relations campaigns, lawsuits, subpoenas, the jailing of some journalists and leak investigations of suspected sources.

I might then assume, and I know about assuming is not being an educated statement, that because of that famously produced movie, “All the Presidents Men”, and even the original report that exploded out of the newspapers and television’s news rooms, the “Watergate” scandal of Woodward and Bernstein, who were made famous for exposing to cause President Nixon to resign himself from the presidency, might have made a huge imprint on a lot of potential new investigative journalists spring out of America’s newest journalists. The popularity of those two famous reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, may have brought out the explosion of good investigative journalist of that time. Maybe so, maybe not, but its heightened time during those years back then was the forefront for many to be a popular, “rising star” of the news reporting world. And then became it’s own demise.

CNN’s Demise of investigative joursnalism

A more recent account of what happened to investigative journalism, from what I could find, was done on America’s television, one that erupted in a parody of news journalism, that started in 1996 in America's continuing spoofs of any subject lines.

“The Daily Show” - sometimes leaning towards the left’s view of politics, with Jon Stewart as the “anchor man”, or star of the show, did a segment of “Investigating Investigative Journalism”, back in January, 2013, with John Oliver investigating CNN’s “retreat from the world of investigative journalism”, started his opening remarks on the show with, “Investigative Journalism……….whatever happened to them?”
John Oliver’s voice-over starts off with the studio’s videos of overseas countries compelled in conflicts of a warring nature and then tells the audience of a “post 9-11” world to be “educated overseas”; and that’s what makes CNN reporter Kaj Larson, “ a navy seal reservist, indispensible”, in the way he went out into the world reporting on multitudes of world happenings, “crawling through drug tunnels in Mexico, and wherever the ("bleep" goes the TV monitor) this is” (a remote, snow-covered mountain or flat snow-covered area in some place where it’s a common place for snow). But during the interview with John Oliver on screen with Kaj Larson, he asked what else is Kaj and CNN looking into lately, and Kaj responded that he’s “no longer working for CNN”. John Oliver just stared at Kaj with a little more wide eyed interest. Kaj said that CNN has “eliminated its entire investigative unit”; and then John responded with, “Wait…what?” Kaj continued to expound on his statement. John then repeated Kaj’ statement, “CNN, the World Wide leader in news, has eliminated its investigative news department?”… Kaj said, “yes”. John went on, “So, I’m just letting that sink in a little bit.” In the background of the Daily Show, you could hear audience laughter as John rolled his eyes upward left as if in thought. John kept up with the routine of “letting it sink in” after that Kaj statement, then looking wide eyed at Kaj he let out a “Holy S!” exclamatory remark.
So then the video of John Oliver’s investigating investigative journalists exposed what Kaj Larson’s statement that he was right, that CNN had eliminated its entire specialization investigative unit as of “last spring” - which was at that time, of this show’s airing of 2013, back in March of 2012. John had to go dig further by talking to Brad Adgate, a professional media analyst, who argues that CNN “has finally raised itself up to meet its low standards of its competitors”. Brad surprisingly said that “investigative journalism is on its way out”, and that it’s one of the “first to go” jobs because it’s not a “profit center”. That’s it in one nutshell, future journalists. If it’s not profitable, or makes money for the company of whom it is employed by, then they will eliminate it.
Brad then said that one doesn’t have to fly out to some remote location (thus spending money for the company), that all they need to do is use “Skype”. That’s the Internet’s latest technology of online real time video by talking to someone far away from your location, or even next door if you don’t want to go that far for a visit! Brad repeated that traveling around the world for investigative journalist is just “too costly”. What money is CNN attempting to save if not paying for their journalists to thoroughly and correctly investigate a certain newsy item or a scandalous rumor involving a well known public figure for the entire world to know then? John Oliver's sarcasm shows that spending thousands of dollars for journalists traveling to Africa is way too expensive while using tools like CNN’s “Virtual Screens” such as “holograms” already spending thousands of dollars for their journalists. That makes a lot of (not) sense! Kaj made a pointed question that Jessica Yellen works at CNN so then “why do they need a hologram of her?” Another sarcastic, comical response by John Oliver was, “That is the stupidest question I ever heard! Because a hologram of Jessica Yellen is cooler than a real Jessica Yellen.” Laughter from the audience is heard again in the background during this video. John and Kaj then go into a skit with each other after Kaj tells John that he got into a new job saying that he now works for the “Newsroom”. John asks, “What ‘newsroom’?” Kaj answers, “ ‘Thee’ Newsroom, on the HBO show”. Kaj said that he writes up “news ideas for the show and HBO injects them into their plotlines.” Another raised eyebrow ensues John Oliver, as his voice-over in the video exclaims, “No, no, no, that can’t be right!” So they go into a “virtual studio newsroom” on HBO, where we see a popular, well known actor of many films starring in “Arachnophobia”, “Dumb and Dumber”, and other notable movies, Jeff Daniels, playing the part of HBO’s “Newsroom”, Will McAvoy, of which HBO ended its series that started in 2012 through Dec. of 2014, and John then asks Will (Jeff Daniels) to go into an inspirational speech of a “Sorkinist” nature (Aaron Sorkin being the inspired journalist for HBO’s pretend “Newsroom” series) for real journalists such as Kaj Larson. So, McAvoy (Daniels) goes along with the skit, using his best philosophical acting mode, “Just because Newsnight isn’t real, it doesn’t mean it can’t be. F("bleep")k television, sure news is a struggle between reporters using journalism as a sacred blessing in a corporate texture; it exploits the worst in human nature, dumbs-down the national conversation, but if you keep doing what you’re doing, it won’t matter if you’re on CNN, FOX or YouTube, people will find you.” ??? Ok, inspiring, if it was one! John ends the video with, “Don’t worry America, fictional journalism is alive and well, it’s only in the real world where it’s completely (another "bleep" of the monitor) up.”

In Summary

Even though that is a comical skit being played for the Daily Show’s audiences so that they can get a good laugh, there is a lot of truth behind the laughter and jokes. People outside the journalists newsrooms have seen what investigative journalism has been like since 2009. And the Washington Post is no exception to the way CNN handles its journalism. Comments from readers on stories on the Washington Post are expressing their own opinions of the way the Washington Post has been an “objective newspaper”, which it hasn’t, in most educated readers’ and conservatives’ opinions. Their readers comment that investigative journalism has just gone awry in their objectivity, and now going bias in most cases of political journalism, that they’ve “run amok” into cover ups and “burgeoning story of political skullduggery”. “Investigative journalism didn't die, the formerly main stream media surrendered its sacred position granted to it by the First Amendment and turned against the American people and became a propaganda arm of the administration.” And if you haven’t been visiting the United States lately, you wouldn't know that unless you read any of the online versions of these news outlets being made available to the world these days. I’d have to even agree with those comments, but then I’m a conservative person whom also reads a lot and tries to read into all of these articles to get the real truth behind them. Of course, then, liberals and/or other than conservatives might want to argue those points, but who’s to say what side of the coins are those other articles and the Daily Show’s talk shows trying to say without being labeled “conservative” or “Liberal”? They certainly are pointing out something, and they are saying that investigative journalism is abundantly, and practically, “flying out the window” of many of the main stream’s media’s newsrooms.
Why would a reader’s comment unfold this statement? “The media's lack of integrity and journalistic ethics brought the decline on. Once the citizens realize they were not being told the truth, they will look elsewhere for the truth, then form their own opinions.” We here in America have known, since 2009, that the main-streaming medias (I call the “alphabet soup media”, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN) have dislodged themselves away from “integrity and journalistic ethics” of truth telling journalism to going towards ‘happy-peppy’, fun-lovin’, the-world-is-all-good-and-okay style reporting, as they stray further and further away from telling us the truths we need to hear so that we can make our own judgments and decisions on those important issues. We’ve gone from not listening to the real truths that are “out there”, to the pretend stories, like HBO’s “Newsroom” because pretending is a lot more “cooler” than the real world.
That is the real "sense" of journalism today…..you want to be “cooler” than the rest, just pretend and you’ll get along with the same crowd looking for you.

Picture sources:

World Wide Web: Picture source, http://www.thatericalper.com/2014/02/27/the-world-wide-web-turns-25-and-pew-takes-a-look-at-our-view-of-it/
Definitions: Picture source - Definition of Journalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adr2-LChEAY
Watergate picture of Bernstein and Woodward, Picture source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/watergate/
The Daily Show: Picture of Jon Stewart of The Daily Show: Picture source (using "Snap" software to capture the video image): http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/4d109s/investigating-investigative-journalism

Investigative Journalism picture source: http://galleryhip.com/investigative-journalism.html

Tags

Bernstein, Ethics, Integrity, Investigative, Investigative Journalism, Involvement, Involving, Journalist, Journalists, Political Satire, Political Values, Politics, Watergate, Woodward

Meet the author

author avatar DeAnna C. Utz
Married, 25 yrs. by July 4, 2015; US Army veteran (25 yrs), retired, Bachelor Science degree in Computer Info Systems (2001). Politically involved in my community, county and country.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
30th Mar 2015 (#)

That's a whole lotta truth tellin' DeAnna. It's gonna make some peoples' ears bleed.

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author avatar DeAnna C. Utz
31st Mar 2015 (#)

LOL! You might be right, my friend! I was thinking about that while writing it and "investigating" my own, and then the thought hit me, "Jeeze, I might get some flak on THIS one!" LOL!! Thanks!

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author avatar DeAnna C. Utz
31st Mar 2015 (#)

Oh, BTW, Jess, I re-edited this after they published it and sked me to insert links for the pictures I used, so I changed the last picture at the end of the article, too. Thought it applied to the entire article better.

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author avatar Retired
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Super article here, DeAnna. Journalism is taught in the J schools as reporting and expanding liberal views while opposing the values that made this country great, such as self reliance, honesty, pride in accomplishment through hard work in the capitalist system and a free market economy.

Investigative journalism gets to the root of any story that opposes those values, instilling instead a sense of entitlement by stealing the wealth of those who earned it and other liberal values. Journalism seldom shows both sides of any story and is taking on the look of propaganda more than anything. The exceptions are Internet blogs, where writers can write without being silenced by liberal filters.

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author avatar DeAnna C. Utz
8th Apr 2015 (#)

Very well pointed out, LeRain. Thanks for the update. Like I said, I'm not a so-called "journalist", but took many writing courses in colleges and tech schools. I never gave it much interest back when I was younger, but now I wish I had gone into that profession as I see what these journalists are printing up these days. But that's a good point.

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