Editor & Publisher
Investigative Reporter Dennie Williams
Decries Crumbling Of Watchdog Role
An Investigative Reporter's Plea
Even as newspapers shed a massive number of staff reporters, few news organizations are doing anything to help freelance or investigative reporters. They promise grants and computer assistance, but little help is forthcoming.
By Thomas "Dennie" Williams
(July 30, 2008) -- As an investigative reporter for over four decades for The Hartford Courant, I always thought the toughest of all tasks was getting answers from politicians, corporate heads and all varieties of scofflaws. Since November 2005, I have been an active freelance writer. After hundreds of emails to newspapers and news Internet sites soliciting investigative reporting ideas and stories, I now believe that today the news media is a tougher nut to crack than any investigative target. Why?
Try emailing or telephoning a news site with a hot news idea or an already prepared in-depth or investigative story. See what happens! Repetitive emails go unanswered for weeks. Telephone calls are routinely directed to voice mails that are frequently ignored by news editors or their assistants. Boy, I would hate to be a tipster with a heavy and significant tip needing reporting.