When the Washington Post picks up business stories from TMZ I wonder, “has the social media pendulum swung too far?” This is what I’m asking myself as I read the new headlines of executive bonuses to floundering AIG Corporation. It’s become apparent there are too few investigative reporters and things are running amuck. Is this the price we pay for having an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 reporters out of work? Perhaps some of the reported $1.6 billion Northern Trust Bank will return as a result of the TMZ report can be invested into investigative journalism.
Obviously, BurrellesLuce has a vested interest in the health and livelihood of content rich-media, but even more important is the impact on society. While social media provides a plethora of information, there’s still a lack in substantive investigative journalism. The big outlets like The Tribune Company and Gannet use their resources to provide legal support to journalists to protect their sources and provide a means for an in-depth investigation. Without subscriber and advertiser support local resources are dwindling, paving the way for more AP stories and less real local insight. It’s too late to save The Rocky Mountain News and the Seattle Post Intelligencer, and these ten newspapers are likely to fold next. But support of the art form doesn’t have to end. I want to “Help a Reporter Out” (HARO) and support publications that employ investigative reporters.
Harvey Levin’s report was the catalyst for Northern Trust returning $1.6 billion dollars back to the taxpayers so imagine the return to power of investigative reporting nationally. Social media is amazing and I personally am fully engaged, but I also subscribe to my local paper. Is it worth your subscription and advertising support to ensure that not if, but when, another Watergate breaks we will get the whole story and not a headline report?