Wednesday, February 3, 2010
TV Investigative Reporters Outflank Newspapers
As an observer of the media, I continue to be amazed how television reporters are taking the lead on investigative journalism. Before it was newspaper reporters who did detailed, investigative pieces and TV reporters who skimmed the surface on their stories. Now, the game has changed. With the newspaper shrinking, reporters have less space to do detailed pieces. Meanwhile the time television stations devote to local news continues to expand. That leaves more time for TV reporters to do longer, more detailed investigative pieces. The game is changing.
The work people like Fox 59's Russ McQuaid and WTHR's Sandra Chapman are doing on their investigative pieces is outstanding. They are not alone though. The local scene has other television reporters who are doing top-notch, quality work.
Our local newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, still has some quality reporters despite staff and salary cutbacks. You get the impression though that newspaper reporters often have their hands tied. Facing short deadlines and the constant pressure for stories, they are often placed in the position of being the TV journalists of yesterday, skimming stories without the time or space to do the detail many wish to do. As I've said previously on these pages, the newspaper industry has to find a way to adjust to the realities of the 21st Century. Thus far newspapers are losing the battle to television news.