Hot Topic - Investigative Reporting
Clandestine meetings on dark street corners, secrets passed silently, details checked diligently, the story written brilliantly and published under a tough editorís watchful eye has narrated journalismís highest calling, bringing truth to power. Real life is less dramatic. The digital age has brought new tools to the newsroom and a far different practice. The result is measured the same.
Secrets are the stock in trade of investigative journalism, loosely defined. From juicy details of celebrities and politicians carrying-on to the rough entanglement of stuff some folks would rather the whole world just didnít know there is hunger and thirst with all the desire a clever headline can raise. Click-bait is this centuryís pop-art.
The documentary form never gets old. Subject material is vast, from injustices in the world and conspiracy theories to the real stories of the real and not-so-real. These moving pictures are moving at a time when attachment is considered out of fashion and escape considered a necessity. What have we learned?
Times are unquestionably difficult for news media throughout the world. Once upon a time, reporters had privileged access and a measure of respect, even when critical. Media workers are targeted for assault - or worse - by anybody with a grievance, whether police, politicians, gangsters or fanatics. Even media outlet proprietors are angry with reporters.
The media world attracts the most interesting people, often quite colorful, sometimes rather dark. Where that dark-side takes hold, cleansing is a long process accomplished by repeated hand-washing, hampered by hand-wringing. There is merit in feeling clean, more, perhaps than being clean.
Big media markets have many advantages. More money, obviously, is one. More watchful eyes, arguably, is another. Smaller media markets, where everybody knows everybody, become consumed by the bitterness of scale. Criticism is very unwelcome.
Data protection and privacy are certainly hot button issues. Revelations of big data scoop-ups by various governmental agencies abetted by big data scoopers have sent a wide variety of interested parties into a spin, all crying ďthere must be a law.Ē But, as legal things go, itís difficult to find common ground.
See also in ftm Knowledge
Investigative reporters have a storied honor among journalists. Praise is less forthcoming from those with secrets, often ready to use all possible means - legal and otherwise - to avoid detection. New tools are emerging to shed light and tell all. This ftm Knowledge file explores methods, old and new, and the forces prefering darkness. 54 pages PDF (May 2016)
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Fake News, Hate Speech and Propaganda – new
The institutional threat of fake news, hate speech and propaganda is testing the mettle of those who toil in news media. Those three related evils are not new, by any means, but taken together have put the truth and those reporting it on the back foot. Words matter. This ftm Knowledge file explores that light. 48 pages, PDF (March 2017)
In the media sphere nothing is more important than knowing the audience. Once in a generation a target group evolves to catch the attention of publishers and broadcasters, advertisers and media buyers, social critics and politicians. The Millennials, also known as Generation Y and digital natives, are it, with unique characteristics and behaviors. They have already reshaped everything we do. 35 pages, PDF (December 2016)
State Aid - Media Rules
National authorities have at their disposal a variety of economic measures to stimulate, develop and improve competitive market sectors. Sometimes they miss the big picture or have special circumstances. Within the European Union an executive branch of the European Commission stands ready to clarify the rules of each and every game. State Aid rules are developing as the playing field gets bigger. 35 pages, PDF (September 2016)
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