If we agree that the media is the fourth estate of democracy, then we will agree that there is a role for investigative journalism, credible anonymous sources, and media commentary.
I think we can, however, agree that commentary and opinion pedaling is often misrepresented as investigative journalism. The latter has courses and entire departments of tertiary-level institutions dedicated to teaching it.
Unfortunately, too many people with hunches, puppet-masters, access to media, strong opinions and even stronger egos take advantage of the sub-region’s lack of savvy where investigative journalism is concerned.
As a result, almost daily, in print and online, we see examples of opinions masked as investigative journalism.
Twice this week your newspaper published pieces under the investigative journalism banner. The first, a highly-opinionated piece on the controversial Wadadli Power Plant, would have been better suited to your editorial page.
The second, a piece on the fire at LIAT was simply a long story, not an investigative piece. It highlighted a single speculation from a single anonymous source and repackaged the other stories emanating from the fire.
Not incidentally, LIAT’s CEO Brian Challenger responded to that story, indicating that investigations were ongoing and a conclusion had not been reached. I heard as much on OBSERVER Radio and I read that elsewhere, but those comments were not published by The Daily OBSERVER the next day.
I finally saw it on Thursday, tacked onto to the end of another story. Given the prominence of the “investigative” report, that is unacceptable.
There is, after all, an opinion section in the newspaper. All of us have our concerns, but we are neither gullible nor doltish. This week’s efforts were an insult to intelligence. You say investigative journalism; some of us say more like yellow journalism.
Sure, other media houses are doing it, but many people hold OBSERVER to a higher standard.
If the media is the fourth estate – and we are counting on OBSERVER to be that for us – the management and editorial staff need to quickly step away from the subjectivity, innuendo and speculation on the news pages.