Image: My Le Thi’s Scales of Care require our input to balance injustice. Credit: Shirley Way

For the 50th anniversary of investigative program Four Corners, two slogans were used: ‘Your stories are history’ and ‘The stories that changed Australia’.

“It’s not the stories that changed Australia,” ABC TV reporter Sarah Ferguson told journalists last week. “Good writing and visual production – that’s what changed Australia.”

Ferguson focused firmly on the craft of narrative and the science of investigative reporting during her keynote address at the national journalism conference, aptly named Storyology.

“We’re using the word ‘story’ too much while we neglect the craft,” Ferguson said as she lamented students were first taught to read the autocue before how to make ‘good TV’.

Humanity

‘Good TV’ is made from the principles of a good narrative – purpose, humanity and detail, Ferguson explained.

“What is it that they [the interviewees] really know? Where is the humanity? What are the details?

“We are journalists; we have to live the detail.”

Ferguson’s examples of good scripting and visual production included Frank Bennett’s 1966 Four Corners exposé on equal pay for aboriginal stockmen.

She praised the simple, straight questions which gave the interviewees the dignity and space to speak, and, the clear storyline driven by prior research.

By contrast, Ferguson declared a film ban on warm colour temperatures, beach scenes and piano music to convey pathos.

We’re smarter than that, she said. Storytellers engage with people; humanity drives the narrative.

US investigative journalist Charles (Chuck) Lewis. Credit: Shirley Way

US investigative journalist Charles Lewis: “If you don’t have information in a community, you don’t have a community.” Credit: Shirley Way.

Integrity

“All in-your-face journalism incorporates integrity of one sort or another,” US investigative journalist Charles (Chuck) Lewis said.

“If you don’t have information in a community, you don’t have a community.”

The Investigative Reporting Workshop is the largest non-profit organisation of its kind in America, the fifth founded by Mr Lewis, and only one of two that partners with public broadcasters.

He said: “I’ve become a sort of Yoda. I don’t want young people to be ignorant of how to do investigative reporting.

“I have a simple MO (mode of operation). All decisions have some grounding in documents, but most think about processes. The secret is this – cross-match multiple data sets.”

With 114 US federal agencies, 50 states, multiple counties and corporations keeping records, there’s a lot of scope for investigative reporting which Lewis described as under threat in mainstream media corporations.

In recent years, the US ratio of public relations professionals to journalists has risen to 4:1, and, the number of dedicated investigative journalists has dropped dramatically.

For example, CNN reports in 100 countries but does not investigate, and, there may be as few as 15 (mainstream) investigative journalists for 33 million people, Lewis said.

By contrast, over 80 US non-profit organisations have formed the Investigative News Network to find ways to make investigative journalism viable and sustainable, and, during the five years to 2010, 180 non-profit foundations gave US$160m ‘for this kind of journalism’.

Lewis advocated for “accountability studies”, a new, broader non-traditional vision for investigative work.

Investigations were routinely carried out through non-government organisations, such as Human Rights Watch, which employed forensic accountants and human rights lawyers.

“All have investigative approaches, even if these are not journalists. These walls have got to move,” Lewis said.

More information:
Investigative Reporting Workshop: http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/
Storyology: http://www.storyology.org.au/

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.

View ratings
Rate this article
2 Comments Leave a comment
  • dayz sa hacks

    The particular Dayz chop problem

    DayZ is really a online game which acquired the opposite associated with humble start.

    That begun like a area project for any activity
    builder branded Dean Area who had been working away at
    a new mod to the less than common game ARMA 3.
    The actual mod quickly removed as well as inside
    2 or 3 weeks had countless participants. Since that time
    several activity designers took an effort for the Dayz mod, doing
    many different type like: Dayz Beginning and Dayz Epoch. Your mod perhaps
    had it’s individual ripoff version much like the popular War Z .
    inability which brought on a great deal dispute.

    Since the begin Dayz got a difficulty with hacks. In the very first month or so of the mods introduction DayZ hackers needed over hosting space using power like
    nuclear bombs and the opportunity to make a big basic known as
    the Thunderdome, during which people could well be teleported and pushed
    to be able to fight. These are generally just some of the
    particular examples of the Dayz hackers that induced a lot of avid gamers to give up.

    Dayz Standalone hacks are simply just since awful. The game has been struggling
    with hacks since it’s pre-alpha release
    a couple of months back. At present they’ve already simply
    no anti-hack diagnosis process which is leading to cyber-terrorist to
    operate wild. This Dayz crew happen to be better from patching your exploits rather than the
    particular mod, nonetheless it many appears to be too overdue.

    Not long ago Bohemia Interactive validated in which online hackers shattered directly into the servers as
    well as borrowed your video games total supplier code.
    That is a massive work with regard to DayZ Stand alone, it means hackers will certainly know every single make use
    of inside the game which will use thus to their benefit.

    This cyber-terrorist subsequently put up his or her award with Reddit, exposing his
    or her loot like a boasting right.

  • game servers

    very attractive girl adds you as a friend on facebook.

    Update: The server update was actually applied earlier at 10:30 p.
    This is because with all new games the user has to sit
    for hours at length building the character and this sometimes takes months at times.

Leave a Comment