Monday, September 22, 2008

Investigative News Lives

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 3:03 PM

As newsrooms shift their focus to gathering pictures and reports from random readers and viewers — known as the i-reporter trend — it’s becoming more difficult than ever to find investigative journalists on the beat.

Tight budgets don’t allow for a month or more of digging with no actual reporting. Sam Zell, the real estate mogul who recently purchased the Tribune Company (Los Angeles TimesChicago Tribune), is even considering “auditing” reporters based on how much copy they produce. That’s why it’s heartening to see the Shreveport Times investing money in what it calls its Public Service Team. Three reporters will focus on First Amendment journalism, producing investigative and enterprise stories and online databases. “This team is responsible for helping move forward, harder and faster, on investigatory journalism that is inspired through the reader and reporter ideas constantly flowing in our Information Center,” says Alan EnglishShreveport Times executive editor. “We believe a vigorous pursuit of the First Amendment is our main call.” Still, this is a venture of the Gannett Company, which is often criticized for its chain-newspaper mentality. In the end, the reports produced by the project and its team of reporters will be the litmus test. Godspeed, Shreveport Times— Jeremy Alford

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