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Investigative reporting is the gold standard of journalistic enterprise and it is essential to the role of high quality news in a democratic society. It is also expensive and time-consuming, and as commercial journalism in America has suffered declining revenues and cuts to its workforce, the presence of investigative reporting has diminished.
WBUR intends to launch and grow an investigative reporting unit to fill this critical gap and to ensure individual and institutional accountability.
OUR PLAN: LAUNCHING AN INVESTIGATIVE UNIT
Our plan is to launch a three-person investigative unit consisting of a Senior Investigative Editor and Reporter, Investigative Reporter and a Data Visualization Journalist. So far, generous support through The Campaign for WBUR has enabled us to hire a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist to kick start this new team. As we move forward, WBUR will use all the platforms available to us–radio, website, social media, videos, in-person public events, podcasts, digital photography and data visualization–to powerfully report and distribute investigative journalism with the greatest impact.
There are vast subjects worthy of investigation, from the operations of select state government agencies to the condition and maintenance of infrastructure to the treatment of our most vulnerable populations. Different topics will require different treatment, and so our investigative team will conduct a range of work, including:
- Researching and producing comprehensive series, each consisting of long-form stories delivered on-air and online. Series will be complemented by expert analysis and commentary featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Radio Boston. Our investigative team will discuss their findings with the public at CitySpace.
- Reporting on independent stories outside of our series. With the capacity to be more responsive to leads and respond to fast-changing events, we will produce timely individual stories and segments for broadcast and web.
- Teaming up with the award-winning WBUR newsroom to pursue leads and cover stories. There will be strong two-way communication between our investigative and beat reporters who cover healthcare, business, environment, immigration, state and city government, and more. Colleagues will share tips and leads and in some cases will jointly report on unfolding stories.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Investigative journalism is one of the most expensive types of reporting because it requires significant time and persistence to conduct and produce, as it is designed to uncover the myriad effects of unchecked power and abuse. The times in which we live demand such journalism.
We seek to raise $1.5 million to launch and sustain this reporting unit – complementing funds we are investing from our own operational budget – a meaningful effort to enrich our communities and our democracy itself.