Sunday, 27 May 2012

Lecture 11 Reflection - Investigative Journalism

Today’s lecture was all about investigative journalism.  I find investigative journalism very interesting and inspiring, as it is so powerful and has the potential to really change the world, and how people perceive certain things.    A perfect example of a recent piece of investigative journalism that really changed Australia was the episode by Four Corners about Australia’s cattle exports to Indonesia.  It was only a matter of hours after this episode aired that there was a national debate about Australia’s cattle export to Indonesia.  Then not long after the episode was shown our national policies on exporting cattle was completely changed. 

Today Dr Redman discussed in detail a piece of investigative journalism that he worked on, The Moonlight State.  The Moonlight State was also produced by Four Corners; it exposed the corruption that existed in the Queensland police force.   Dr Redman emphasised how much work and research is put into investigative journalism.  Two years of extensive research was put into The Moonlight State, which ended up being a 30 minute episode.  Once this episode did go to air, it brought down members of government and a lot of police. 

Although there is much debate about whether Julian Assange can be considered a journalist, there is no denying that the WikiLeaks publisher has exposed information that changed the world.  In some way his work can be categorised as investigative journalism, as is has revealed inside information, but just not in an ethical way.

Investigative journalism is extremely serious stuff, it is very critical and thorough journalism, and is all about questioning the facts, and what has been presented to us.  The following are some important aspects to consider when working on investigative journalism:

Intelligent – well thought out and know what you are trying to find before you go after it
Informed – know the major facts and people involved
Intuitive – is this dangerous to me or other people
Inside – get the inside information
Intimate – know what is going on from the inside view, you need to be trusted
Invest – you need to invest a lot of yourself, money, time, and mental health, as it is very serious

Investigative journalists bring power to the powerless, and voices to the voiceless.  They represent the interests of those who do not have the power to speak out, and are able to balance the power of the government. 

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