Have a flair for investigative journalism? Approach an NGO

Key role in investigative journalism now played by NGOs

By Roy Greenslade/Guardian

Paul Lashmar, a former investigative journalist and now acting head of
journalism at Brunel University, sees reasons to be cheerful about the
state of investigative journalism in Britain. He points to "the rise

of journalism bureaus, the active involvement of the campaign sector,
and a new generation of networked, web-savvy journalists pushing the
field forward."

He is aware of reasons to be miserable too, referring to the News of
the World frittering away "the cultural capital of investigative
journalism... by the perverse use of investigative techniques for
salacious celebrity-based journalism."

But here are the positives he lists: The Bureau of Investigative
Journalism; the emerging generation of journalists using new
investigative techniques, such as datascraping, crowd-sourcing and
social media; and the campaigning sector – pressure groups, consumer
groups, charities and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) –
that do their own investigative journalism.

Then there is the rise of international, if informal, networks of
investigative journalists. Lashmar writes: "These groupings are
providing under-resourced investigative journalists with global
stretch as they are now able to call upon like-minded colleagues for
help and advice in all continents."

I was much taken with his evidence of the growing effectiveness of
journalistic ventures by NGOs: "Whether it's corruption, human rights,
the environment, climate change, illegal resource exploitation, child
detention or a wide range of other important issues, campaigners have
been shaping the news agenda through their use of investigative
techniques to an ever-greater extent..."

Lashmar added: "NGOs have started hiring investigative journalists to
provide the media with material that they are no longer willing to

He concludes with a mention of a debate about the increasing
importance of NGOs in shaping the news agenda at the Centre for
Investigative Journalism summer school at City University London.


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