All reporting should be investigative reporting

As far as Google and Yahoo are concerned, this is the first occurence of the phrase "all reporting should be investigative reporting" on a web page.

Yet in my experience more than a few crusty editors, idealistic young reporters, and journalism professors will evince a belief that all reporting should be investigative. From the crusty editor types, it's likely to be phrased as "all reporting is investigative reporting"— anything else isn't worthy of the label reporting or journalism. All too often, that dismisses the subject, when a little investigating would suggest that precious little reporting is investigative.

Do journalism professors quietly say this in class, and reporters in talks, but conspire to make sure it never shows up on the course syllabus or event notes to avoid showing up the profession as a whole? (Just kidding!)

Still, it's clear that this ideal is not being compared to reality with any rigor, at least online.

(Yahoo turn up one instance in a Word document, attributed to Fred Pierce of central New York's The Post-Standard: "One questioner asked what the role of 'facts' in reporting is. Fred acknowledged that all reporting should be investigative reporting, but that not all reporting can be such because time restraints constrict the ability to conduct research.")

And for the "is" camp, one representative: Bruce Drake, VP for News at NPR, said "All reporting is investigative reporting, because all reporters should be peeling the layers back, trying to find out what they are not telling you." [We'll assume "they" means sources, not reporters!]

Postscript: I realized the more common phrasing would be "all journalism is investigative journalism" which turned up no result or "all journalism should be investigative journalism," which turns up three results. One is not on the public internet anymore. One was journalism professor Paul Ashdown quoted in a college newspaper, regarding an at-the-time upcoming talk by Bob Woodward, who ironically has become the highest profile stenographer to power. The third is an e-mail archived on the Minnesota Progressive Events list:

From: Lydia Howell
Subject: News award 4.23 5pm

Hopefully it doesn't seem odd or egotistic to share notice of this event.
As some of you know along with 3 other Pulse reporters (who wrote separate
stories on homelessness), I won an annual Premack Award for Public
Interest Journalism (for my story "No Direction Home" about homeless teens
in the TC, published in late December 2006).

The award is named for Frank Premack--an "Old School" editor at the
Minneapolis Star Tribune who died in (I believe) 1976. I know some of his
colleagues and he sounds like the kind of tough editor that's gone the way
of the 8-track tape player: as one journalist buddy told me, Premack felt
that "ALL journalism should be investigative journalism". I've been lucky
enough to have worked with some editors who ARE carrying on that Premack
attitude--and you know who you are! Pulse has and is a newspaper where one
CAN follow a story wherever it leads and the "powerful" are not given a

The awards ceremony and journalism panel (on which I will represent PULSE)
happens this Monday. It's open to the public and I'd be delighted to see
any of you there. PULSE is the ONLY independent newspaper that won--we're
standing with the corporate big boys, Strib & PiPress (along w/the
Rochester daily paper and a paper from the Iron Range). Information below.
solidarity, Lydia Howell


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