Reporting center keeps in-depth journalism alive


Browsing through Google Blogs this morning, I came across a very interesting non-profit organization, the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Founded in 1977, the CIR is the oldest non-profit investigative reporting organization around. It doesn’t just “repost news” – it analyzes news and explains it in great detail with stories and multimedia components.

According to the News Manual, investigative reporting is “finding, reporting and presenting news which other people try to hide.” The Watergate scandal, uncovered by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein,  is an infamous example of investigative reporting at its finest.

Due to the financial struggles newspapers have been facing in recent years, investigative reporting is not seen much anymore. Investigative reporters tend to spend weeks, months, and sometimes even years uncovering the truth behind a story.

At this point, investigative reporting cannot be maintained by a 21st century newspaper budget. Social media and the Internet have contributed to the decline of investigative reporting as well.

The Center for Investigative Reporting keeps in-depth reporting alive. The site’s reporters take time to dig deeper into a breaking news or hard news, and then find the sources needed to reveal the hidden facts.

On the site, users can find several packages and blog posts reporters publish. The site also has a Media tab, a Topics tab, and a Projects tab.

The organization’s slogan, “revealing injustice for 35 years,” has a mission  – to produce multimedia reporting that allows individuals to demand accountability from government,  corporations, and others in power.

In one of the Center for Investigative Reporting‘s most recent stories, Bain, Romney’s old firm, gives millions to Democratssenior reporter Lance Williams reveals the facts behind public records showing that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s old private firm, Bain Capital, contributed approximately $4.5 million to Democratic campaigns and causes in the past two decades.

This may have been reported by other news organizations, but not to the extent of Williams’ roughly 1,200-word story, photos, and a graphic.

Investigative reporting allows individuals in society, and journalists alike, to see a different perspective on the news. It’s reporting that states the facts and explains why.

Hard news stories and breaking news stories can offer explanation, but it will never be as analytical and detailed because people who read the news or watch the news on television, want the news right now.

It’s the obsession and addiction of instant information that drives investigative reporting off a cliff.  While people need to be aware of news as its happening, investigative reporting is still an important form of journalism that shouldn’t be erased.

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