The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View/New models for journalism


Scribbling outside the lines

Journalist I.F. Stone was a squinty pipsqueak who roared like a lion. Author Jessica Mitford was a transplanted Brit with a knack for raking American muck. Each was determined to right wrongs and expose corruption.
The Herald believes a good newspaper embraces its watchdog role. Just this year, in-depth work by reporters Scott North and Noah Haglund exposed malicious monkeyshines orchestrated from the offices of (now-departed) Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.
The stories of Stone and Mitford remind us, however, that conventional news organizations have no monopoly on the passion or ability needed to tell honest truths about important issues.
Stone's dogged coverage of J. Edgar Hoover resulted in his blacklisting from newspapers in the 1950s. Rather than quit, he started a one-man weekly newsletter -- a publication that exposed misdeeds of the powerful from the McCarthy era through the Nixon administration. One biographer credits Stone with shaping modern investigative reporting by standing up to government and focusing on official documents.
Mitford had a modest publishing resume when she wrote a piece for a small magazine examining how some funeral homes took advantage of grieving families. Her article sparked a national reaction and led to a 1963 book, "The American Way of Death," still considered a classic piece of investigative reporting.
Since 2009 in the Pacific Northwest, a nonprofit called InvestigateWest, has answered the call to perform public-spirited investigative reporting. InvestigateWest has fostered relationships with newspapers and TV stations throughout the region, and you've seen some of its output in the Herald.
Now we can congratulate InvestigateWest for its share of the New America Award, a national honor from the Society of Professional Journalists recognizing coverage of immigration issues. "Center of Detention" -- which pooled the talents of InvestigateWest's Carol Smith and the Tacoma News Tribune's Lewis Kamb -- examined a private, for-profit Tacoma facility that processes thousands of immigrant deportations each year.
Many editors, academics and concerned citizens, watching as digital communication "disrupt" the media landscape, assume traditional newsrooms will be cutting back on investigative reporting. So, it is comforting to know innovative journalism start-ups feel compelled to examine vital topics.
But don't count newspapers out just yet.
Gannett, a huge media group with a penchant for slashing news budgets, recently surveyed 81 markets to identify topics that inspire reader "passions." They expected to learn, for example that Shreveport readers love food and Fort Collins readers love camping. But in most markets, a Gannett executive reported, "the top 'passion thing' by a wide margin" was investigative reporting.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Lofty potential for drones
Lofty potential for drones: Aircraft could be used in real estate, other businesses
A community of kindness
A community of kindness: Seahawks home a display of affection for couple's daughter
Looking for a friend?
Looking for a friend?: Animals up for adoption at the Everett shelter (7 new photos)
Super snacks
Super snacks: Best finger-food recipes to make for the big game
SnoCoSocial