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Times Editor Chris Lopez's weblog

Friday, May 20, 2005

Investigative journalism

A primary mission of our newspaper is to produce investigative journalism and be a watchdog on government agencies and elected officials. The story we published this morning on the Schwarzenegger administration and its closeness to powerbroker Bob White is an example of the watchdog investigative journalism the newspaper pushes. The story by reporter Dion Nissenbaum has been in the works for months. These stories require extensive research, interviews, documentation of public records and long hours of writing and editing. It's the type of journalism that Internet powers, such as Yahoo, Craig's List, Google, cannot produce at this stage because they don't employ journalists. There has been commentary from the founder of Craig's List that that site would like at some point to get into socially responsible journalism and investigative journalism. For now though, the Internet powers simply aggregate content but aren't producing unique content. The unique content produced by newspapers remains to be our most valuable characteristic. Journalists are part of the backbone of a free society and their work remains the most valuable part of the newspaper.


Blogger Brian Boyko said...

I would not agree that the Internet does not produce content - if anything, disproves that. Bloggers also produce content as well, although you are right that most of their work is aggregation. (However, they're very good at taking tons of people, and aggregating the bits and pieces other people wouldn't have thought to put together and seeing the bigger picture.)

On the other hand, you are right. Newsmedia companies can afford to hire professional journalists/investigative journalists.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Chris Lopez, Times Editor said...

You're right, there are definitely Internet sites that produce content and bloggers are also useful and viable content providers. The point remains, though, that the super Internet powers, the Yahoos, etc, the ones with the big advertising bucks, aren't doing it, yet. It will be fascinating to see if one of these super Internet powers eventually purchases a media company that has journalists who can produce unique content.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Brian Boyko said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:24 AM  
Blogger Brian Boyko said...

Well, AOL did purchase Time Warn-- er, on second thought, perhaps you're right about that.

More seriously, Yahoo and Google are news search engines. I don't want them producing content - to me that would be a massive conflict of interest. But the internet is much broader than Yahoo and Google.

2:27 AM  
Blogger Brian Boyko said...

Poynter Online has a posting on a similar topic:

10:46 AM  
Blogger neonormal said...

If Yahoo and Google start writing news it is unlikely be much different than any other large entity going into the news business. They will have their hurdles and bumps. But in the end they will more than likely turn into another amalgamated mainstream media outlet with their own angle on things.

Knowing what we know about both Google and Yahoo it is safe bet they will innovate the process, and again knowing the two of the them they stand a good chance of succeeding.

With all due respect Mr. Lopez there are lots and lots of news coming out of the Internet from amateurs.

You’re reading on now.

2:07 PM  
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4:11 PM  
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