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Developing the Future of Investigative Journalism Online

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the become-a-wiki-reporter dept.

Education 34

meckdevil writes "If you're a cutting-edge geek with an interest in investigative journalism, there's a great job opening at the badly named Reporter's Lab, a project supported by Duke University's DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. Headed up by former Washington Post editor and reporter Sarah Cohen, the Reporter's Lab is Duke's effort to extend what is known as 'computational journalism' into the realm of investigative reporting and thereby make investigative reporters more efficient and effective."

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I didnt know such a thing still existed. (0)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245196)

I watch FOX News religiously.

Re:I didnt know such a thing still existed. (0)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245768)

Blasphemer!

If you were a true member of the FNCism you would know that John Stossel is the Patron bloody Saint of Investigative Journalism with James O'Keefe as High Bishop! You, sir, are a liberal commie spy sent by those wacky left wing internet loons to pollute our polls! You can't explain that!

Inventive Journalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36245210)

We have enough of that already and we don't need it to be any more 'efficient' than it already is.

Modern bloggers do not need any journalism skills (4, Insightful)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245862)

Today's bloggers do not have to worry about such things as "journalism", "investigative reporting", "grammar", or "objectivity". Look at a typical posting on Engadget or Gawker to see each of these points burned to the ground. Today's bloggers just need to read a brief summary from a real news source (like the NYTimes), form some type of inner rage or indignation, and write out a few snarky comments with a link to the source. This is what today's 20-something audience demands. Who needs "facts" or "reasoning" when a quick, witty blogpost is all that's desired?

Re:Modern bloggers do not need any journalism skil (1)

TexNex (513254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36246706)

And that goes the same for many of the news media outlets the bloggers get their info-rage from. Take a look at a NYT article from today and compare it to something 60 years ago...then compare it to the average blogger vent. Its the same for many newspapers as the editing team is handpicked by the owning group. The Austin American Statesman suffers from this as well as an inability to report without prejudice. The news is polarized these days and you have to really pick through it to get to the truth...its almost not worth the effort.

Re:Modern bloggers do not need any journalism skil (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36247626)

So bloggers are just like any other news outlet then?

Real investigative journalism (3, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245266)

That will require the ability to make anonymous untraceable submissions, since the government spends most of its energy prosecuting and vilifying whistle blowers these days.

Re:Real investigative journalism (2, Insightful)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245788)

That's not really true. If you're referring to Bradley Manning, I support what he did, but you have to look at things from the military's POV, as well. He pretty clearly broke the law, and they're not going to let that go. I probably would have done the same thing he did, but I'm impulsive and don't have a whole lot of respect for the chain of command or authority figures; for me, that's alright (though it causes some amount of trouble in my life), but, for a soldier, it's going to get you into a whole shitload of trouble. That's why I'm not a soldier. Even if what he did was morally right and he's absolved of all wrong-doing, he'll still probably face some harsh penalties for insubordination. They're not just punishing him for being a whistle-blower, though I imagine he'll be treated much worse because of it.

You might also be referring to Julian Assange. I think he's a paranoid egomaniac with delusions of grandeur, but that doesn't mean he isn't doing the right thing (arguably for the wrong reasons). Whether the U.S. government set him up or not doesn't really matter, because we can't ever say one way or the other. We just don't have enough information to judge. It wouldn't surprise me if we did set him up, but arguing back and forth about it won't accomplish anything. It sounds like you believe we did, which is fine. I respect that. However, in the absence of evidence, I'm going to reserve judgment on that. Some of the more reactionary members of Congress have made statements that I believe are ignorant, violent, and stupid, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the CIA is out to get him. Sometimes good people do bad things, and sometimes bad people do good things. People rarely are wholly good or wholly bad.

Finally, I'm sure you're referring to Wikileaks, which has caused quite a lot of controversy. Personally, I think Wikileaks is a good thing, and I support it, but, again, one must consider the opposing POV. Not everyone believes that Wikileaks is a good thing. When they make arguments against it, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're vilifying or slandering it. Some people are engaging in propaganda and calling for witch hunts (I've heard many apologists and outright supporters of Sen. McCarthy in recent years), but it's usually restricted to reactionary "commentators", rather than the government, which is usually too inefficient and divisive to have a single, unified vision that it can carry out. Having the U.S. government put pressure on Amazon (or other corporations) to stop supporting Wikileaks is a dirty move, but it's nothing less than I'd expect from our government, given my cynicism. When masked commandos storm a data center in Europe, destroying all the servers, I'll be more surprised (and maybe even moved from my apathy). Until then, it seems like Wikileaks and whistle-blowers are actually relatively low on their list of priorities, because all they're doing is sending "suggestions" to corporations that support Wikileaks. They could be doing much, much worse, if they really wanted to. In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor outrage, and doesn't even really bother me all that much, compared to major outrages like instigating wars under false pretenses. Does that mean that they get away with doing something wrong, because they're doing something even more wrong, at the same time? Maybe so... but that's apathy for you.

I've yet to see strong evidence that the U.S. government is going after whistler-blowers, in general. What I've seen is more like a few dumbasses making idle threats against the life of Julian Assange, making life somewhat difficult for Wikileaks, and the military making an example of Bradley Manning, which could just be because they're assholes who can't stand insubordination. When another Bradley Manning shows up, and he gets the same treatment, it'll be a pattern. Until then... not a pattern.

Re:Real investigative journalism (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36246008)

I've yet to see strong evidence that the U.S. government is going after whistler-blowers, in general.

Not sure if your trolling with that statement... In case not and it is just a case of mainstream news not keeping you the least bit informed, here goes (complete with plenty of references):

Obama has made it his mission to prosecute whisteblowers [salon.com] , no matter how morally correct and beneficial for society [salon.com] their actions were. The crackdown, far exceeding any previous presidents attempt [google.com] - has not been called "Obama's war on whistle-blowers" [salon.com] for nothing.

Mark Klein, the former A.T. & T. employee who exposed the telecom-company wiretaps, is also dismayed by the Drake case. “I think it’s outrageous,” he says. “The Bush people have been let off. The telecom companies got immunity. The only people Obama has prosecuted are the whistle-blowers.

Re:Real investigative journalism (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36246254)

Linking Glenn Greenwald thrice probably doesn't carry any more weight than just linking him once.

That thrice was brought to you by Conan.

Re:Real investigative journalism (2)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36248548)

Fortunately investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald prolifically cites and links to his sources - hence the "plenty of references" claim.

Re:Real investigative journalism (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36249410)

That's fine. My point was more that if he is the one writing the articles, you might as well frame your comment around "Glenn Greenwald reporting".

Re:Real investigative journalism (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36246082)

You expelled an awful lot of wind there, to tell me what?... that I should reconsider reporting that the emperor has no clothes? Sorry bub, you just cheated your ass out of a fart

Re:Real investigative journalism (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36247122)

He pretty clearly broke the law, and they're not going to let that go.

In what court has that been determined?

The most important legal concept needing defending right now is that an accusation by the executive branch does not equal guilt. If Barack Obama accused Elbereth tomorrow of terrorism, does that make Elbereth a terrorist?

For instance, right now Barack Obama claims and has tried to exercise the power to kill American citizens accused of terrorism. Before that, George W Bush claimed the power to indefinitely imprison and torture American citizens accused of terrorism.The accusation is secret. There is no jury trial. There is no confrontation of the evidence or witnesses. There is no due process of law. And many defend this sort of thing because the target must be an evil terrorist if the Obama administration said so.

The list goes on: The NSA won't wiretap everyone, only the evil terrorists! The US Border Patrol won't steal everyone's stuff, only the terrorist's laptops! They all rest on the same lie, that the executive alone can decide guilt and act accordingly.

Re:Real investigative journalism (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36247326)

He pretty clearly broke the law, and they're not going to let that go.

In what court has that been determined?

He abused his position of trust in the government and he has admitted that he shared classified information with people not authorized to receive it [yahoo.com] .

He admitted shit: the "source" is LAMO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36247406)

Either Lamo is lying about what Manning said (and the postings are doctored) or Lamo is morally bankrupt because he did not protect his source and mislead Manning, or Lamo is completely incompetent as a 'journalist". Speaking off the record to a reporter does not count as "admitting" anything in any legally meaningful way. (No, I do not believe for a second that Lamo made things clear to Manning, a real reporter would NOT allow a whistleblowing source to compromise himself this way.)

From your link:
"In an interview with Yahoo! News, Lamo says that he spelled out very clearly in his chats with Manning that he wasn't affiliated with WikiLeaks or acting as a journalist. Lamo even offered, he says, to speak to Manning as a reporter and to protect his identity — and Manning refused.

It's unclear why Manning would reject such an offer. Lamo says he suspects that Manning didn't want to get caught up in negotiating which portions of their instant-message chats would be considered on the record, off the record or on background.

But that reluctance seems to indicate a presumption on Manning's part that their entire conversation was off the record. If that was the case, then Lamo's description of himself as a journalist may have led Manning to reasonably believe that, under the circumstances, Lamo had an ethical obligation to protect his identity. Lamo insists that he was clear to Manning that he had taken his journalist hat off for the purposes of their conversation. We asked Lamo to provide the relevant portion of the chat; he replied that he needed to talk to his lawyer before sharing it with us."

A war under false pretenses instantiated Wikileaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36247798)

FYI: it was the inability of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame to publish their documentary evidence that the Bush administration had started the Iraq war under false pretenses that instantiated Wikileaks. They had documents proving that Bush lied, on national television, about Saddam Hussein trying to build nuclear weapons. This was a stated reason for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. No "journalist" worldwide was willing and able to publish their explosive documents.

People who had already considered building something like Wikileaks were galvanized into action. They began the Wikileaks project in November of 2003. There was a lot to do, so it took several years before Julian registered the domain. At first they didn't even have a name for it.

This author agrees with you that starting wars under false pretenses is worse than persecuting whistle blowers. What you did not know, before reading this, is that the war under false pretenses, and the inability of the media to honestly report on it, was the reason for the founding of Wikileaks.

This statement its not hearsay or supposition. I was there while it happened, and was very much caught up in the process. In early 2004 Valerie Plame stayed at my house and met with a Wikileaks Architect. This is a first person account from a long time slashdot reader and contributor.

Re:Real investigative journalism (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250492)

I support what he did, but you have to look at things from the military's POV, as well.

No, you don't. The military are (or should be) servants of, and subservient to the people, not the other way round. Anything else is fascism.

Re:Real investigative journalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253762)

That will require the ability to make anonymous untraceable submissions, since the government spends most of its energy prosecuting and vilifying whistle blowers these days.

Like here, whenever you make a posting about Obama that doesn't include getting your face completely covered in brown, you are modded down very fast and very hard. However, none of the "journalists" ever got around to investigating anything about him, ever. Was he actually a citizen, what is his religion, what is his foreign policy like, ... He was black, so they didn't care about anything else.

Or when you don't fall over yourself worshipping Global Warming. Like that stupid Polar Bear photo (originally captioned something like "Mother and Child Polar Bear playing on the ice"). Funny thing about Polar Bears, they can swim, and there are more of them running around now than any previous known time.

Investigative Journalism = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36245300)

Investigate and if you don't find anything, make it up.

spaceball news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36245458)

goooooooooooooooood morning spaceball one!

msm spoonfed news rules
try and change it
and you'll lose
because it has to be spoonfed
or it's not tolerated

wait for it... cans of air banned in public! exhaust from cars everywhere but no smoking allowed! you see, second hand cigarette smoke is bad but car fumes good! breathe deep my friends...

University of CAFR (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36245584)

Journalism isn't going to come from a College who abuses and uses CAFR and won't talk about CAFR. Right now, our officials who we can't even tell if they are elected or not cause the ballots can't be counted anymore, are all about destroying the Constitution and Bill Of Rights, while destroying the markets, monetary system, pensions, savings, retirement. Might as well enjoy the ride until it comes to your front door via haarp in weapon mode, with fema and dhs right behind. And what channel shall it all be broadcast on? The FCC channel, the DHS channel. Some fuckass blackhat SEO censored news website without a search engine? Some government website with a bunch of fucking PDF's which are unsearchable. Fuck Journalists. Fuck Everyone, this shit is pathetic. Go back to compiling your fucking kernels, before they come to kill you off next for speaking out. There is no Constitution or bill of rights, only a bunch of banksters and oligarchs. There is no justice. There is no freedom. Just a bunch of trolls to mark this post down into never to be seen mode.

http://cafr1.com
http://blackboxvoting.org
http://prisonplanet.com
http://zerohedge.com
http://www.dutchsinse.com/blog/?p=660

Re:University of CAFR (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245694)

Seek help.

Re:University of CAFR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36247220)

Eat the truth

Duke University? (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36245880)

Duke University isn't that the school that believes in guilty until proven innocent?

Re:Duke University? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250090)

Really. They would need to investigate themselves first into the railroading of the innocent LaCrosse players. They could then start in on the Jew York Times bigoted anti-white coverage.

Investigative reporter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36245998)

How about more accurate?

Investigative Journalism Online:been there done it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36246106)

It's called Hacking. You fucking ass wipes. We were doing this long ago, and BBSes were our news distribution channels of choice.

Three problems:
1. People with lots of money want their secrets kept that way.
2. People with no clue also didn't give a shit about our "news" (go figure).
3. Big Dumb Media Companies of the world demonized the very term Hacker.

Good luck with that -- It's fucking illegal, thanks in no small part to the fear mongering, MPAA/RIAA backed, political agenda pushing media... Deal with your internal corruption first, then I might consider believing any bullshit you big time "Journalists" spout.

Actually, your time has passed, I don't even own a TV anymore -- Get Bent,
Hackers of the World

Email Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36246394)

Great! Another job for computer crackers and stalkers. Just browse cnn.com during coffee break and when something big pops up do a little work on Facebook (Social Engineering anyone?) send a phishing email and BANG! you have more back story than you could ever want.

Hardly news... (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36246888)

So, in other words, at the rate we're going investigative journalism is going to look much like Trade chat in World of Warcraft? That's hardly news...

Whats stronger than 1000 investigative journalists (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#36247820)

An editor pwned by Corporate America's owner/operators.

Most people are getting it wrong... (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | more than 3 years ago | (#36248562)

...it' s just a rather convoluted way to promote voyeurtools.

Reliance on advertising revenue undermines truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36249698)

If your news outlet relies on advertising revenue then you can kiss goodbye to any genuine attempt to pursue investigative journalism.

Uncontested advertising tilts the whole game in favour of the producer then the reliance of the news media on the producer for advertising revenue tilts it still further. There is no mechanism built into the system to tilt it back the other way. The customer is shafted in all manner of ways.

Some well intentioned people have given it a bit of thought and tried to produce free outlets for news stories (Indymedia for one). Unfortunately the people who write most of the articles which appear there are as bad as the mainstream media in that they push their own particular agenda with little regard for the facts or the wider picture and so they remain a fringe effect.

Whistleblowers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36274934)

Most whistleblowers have suffered as a result of their bravery. That is why WikiLeaks is so important. Brad Manning had to break the law to see justice done and the evil of his government exposed.If Reporter's Lab is not going to churn out the views of the social elite then secrecy and protection for sources is paramount. http://tinyurl.com/42lxuch

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