Emerging Investigative Journalism


AUCKLAND (Pacific Journalism Review / Pacific Media Watch): Universities are part of an emerging investigative journalism culture that is pushing boundaries on models of collaboration and international inquiries, say the editors of the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review.
“In a time of such intense change and experimentation, journalists and the public should be able to expect that universities will play a role in testing new models and putting new ideas into practice,” say co-editors Professor Wendy Bacon and Associate Professor Tom Morton, both leading investigative journalists.

In the editorial, the co-editors declare their goal to “promote a more independent and critical culture of journalism in our region, without which democracy cannot flourish”.

They added: “This goal suggests a relationship [between journalists and universities] much wider and more challenging than simply the production of qualified journalists.”

The edition, themed “Back to the source” and published today, features many investigative articles and presentations from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific at the conference of that name hosted by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ) in Sydney last September.

This was the second in a series of investigative journalism conferences, following one at Auckland University of Technology in December 2010. The next is due at Monash University in Melbourne next year.

Pacific Journalism Review also features two university-based investigations into major mining operations in New Caledonia and West Papua in a new regular section entitled “From the Frontline”. 

Multiplatform approach
Among commentaries published are the keynote address by Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Centre for Investigative Reporting at Berkeley, California, who talks about a multiplatform approach to investigative journalism in the midst of “one of the greatest transformations in information and technology in human history”.

Investigative journalists Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie debate their “Dirty Money” investigation into Securency while Linton Besser and Dylan Welch examine their “Crime Does Pay” inquiry into the NSW Crime Commission. 

Tom Morton investigates the case of Sharleen Spiteri, an HIV+ sex worker who caused a national scandal when she appeared on television in Australia and revealed she sometimes had unprotected sex with her clients.

Kayt Davies examines the strategies of the independent agency West Papua Media and the challenge of protecting sources in dangerous places, Shailendra Singh probes investigative journalism in seven Pacific countries and David Robie assesses controversial Pacific investigations involving New Zealand media regulators.

In the “From the Frontline” section of PJR, Karen Abplanalp’s 2011 Metro magazine investigation into the NZ Superannuation Fund’s “ethical” investments in the giant US-owned Freeport mine in West Papua and Nicole Gooch’s Global Mail 2012 investigation into the Vale nickel refinery at Goro, New Caledonia, are featured.

“This is an innovative initiative for a research journal combining journalism and reflexive academic analysis,” said the journal’s managing editor Professor David Robie.

Other articles include a commentary by Professor Mark Pearson assessing the methodology of the Reporters Sans Frontières media freedom index rankings applied to Australia, NZ and the Pacific; an assessment of the New Zealand journalism school accreditation model by Grant Hannis; and “anti-Māori themes” in New Zealand journalism researched by the Whariki Research Centre at Massey University with suggestions “toward alternative practice”.

Contents and abstracts for the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review are online at: www.pjreview.info


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