Saturday, February 13, 2010

The future of investigating reporting on our environment:

We came across this story about how in the present media crisis the prospect for investigative reporting might shake out: 'Newsonomics' Predicts The Future Of The Media : NPR “The Internet has finally surpassed newspapers as readers' number one choice for news, yet most papers are still struggling to make money online. Former newspaperman Ken Doctor, author of Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape The News You Get, and media entrepreneur David Cohn weigh in on the future of the news industry.”

One of the emerging ideas is Spot.us (Spot.Us is a nonprofit project of the Center for Media Change and funded by various groups like the Knight Foundation.) One of the ideas for increasing investigative reporting is to “Essentially, we have independent journalists or freelancers who create pitches. One, for example, on our site right now is looking into the UC regents. And we distribute the cost of hiring that reporter across a lot of different people. So, you know, 50 or 100 people giving $10 or $20 each is enough to do that investigation.” ('Newsonomics' Predicts The Future Of The Media : NPR)

The problem with this model of course is that many types of reporting don’t work well for this kind of long-and-involved procedure before a reporter goes out and investigates. However, environmental reporting does fit this model well. For example, if individuals in a community believed that a particular disease or syndrome was do to an environmental factor, but got no answers from the local media or government, then a media a Spot.us  would work fine. And, it might make up for a reluctant media to find out what is actually going on in our environment.

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