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Watchdog Reporting and New Forms of Investigative Journalism

Posted by Julie Willbrand on September 12, 2008

Five highly acclaimed journalists discussed the future of investigative journalism in this panel-styled forum. 

One common theme among the speakers was the importance of convergence.  Alison Young of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked about the concept of “pitchers and catchers,” roles that allow journalists to “serve it while it’s hot” by sharing the positions of content generators and presenters.

James V. Grimaldi of The Washington Post focused on his recent article on Sarah Palin and the importance of generating website hits through the use of article-to-article links.  “Traffic doesn’t come through the homepage, it comes laterally through other people linking,” he said.

Manny Garcia of the Miami Herald discussed a type of “culture change” he’s seen in the newsroom since the advent of the online strategy.  He thinks of it as “A.P. with context.  Write with authority, write without apologies; if you know what you’re writing about, you shouldn’t have to apologize for it.”

Lea Thompson, formerly with NBC News, stressed that teaming up takes pressure off a single journalist, allowing individuals to specialize in their respective areas. 

Cheryl Philips of The Seattle Times articulated the importance of hooking readers on an online story.  “What our web people are interested in is how ‘sticky’ something is,” she said.  “What can you surround that story with that will keep them on your site longer?”

Forum-members Cheryl Phillips of the Seattle Times and Lea Thompson, formerly with NBC News, discuss with alumni and students alike their topic of "Watchdog Reporting and New Forms of Investigative Journalism" in Gannett Hall Thursday afternoon.


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