Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Hager on “reconceptualisation” of investigative journalism

MIJT Conference: Hager proposes “reconceptualisation” of investigative journalism

Speaking at the Media Investigative Journalism and Technology Conference at AUT University yesterday, Nicky Hager said there has been a “wonderful growth curve for PR people and an inverse growth curve for journalism.”

In response, Hager argued that investigative journalism needs to be redefined in order to prosper.

Hager, one of New Zealand’s few investigative journalists, entitled his speech “More investigation when there is less journalism” and he acknowledged the limited ability of the mainstream media to be a vehicle for investigative work, both in New Zealand and overseas.

Hager suggested the only hopeful and practical solution “is to reconceptualise what we think investigative journalism is and who we think an investigative journalist is.”

While still seeing the need for mainstream news organisations to disseminate information, he says the days of uncovering a ‘Watergate-type’ story within a traditional newspaper no longer exist.

Instead Hager said, “Investigative journalism needs to be detached from the news media” to ensure the discipline survives.

Taking a different approach, Hager asked himself who’s work he most admired in New Zealand and the answers were not only from some of his industry peers but from health researchers, academics and those in public interest groups.

“You can have someone in a human rights organisation, who is doing investigative journalism and then handing it to a media outlet. It’s just not called investigative journalism.”

Hager gave the example of his own background as a researcher, for the many different occupations where the principles of investigative journalism are identical across the board.

Hager argued the emphasis should be on skills and said although “there is a vanity in the news media that says that only journalists can properly do these roles” he rather wished than believed that to be true.

Hager said the way to implement his proposed model is to “search out the people who call themselves filmmakers or public interest researchers for example and bring those people together.”

Suggestions ranged from invitations to conferences such as MIJT, to opening up journalism training to people from a variety of disciplines or building investigative research papers into other degrees.

Although there are a number of people who already combine some of these skill sets, Hager sees this idea as going further and “making it a career path rather than a hopeless dream.”

Within his proposal, he addressed the questions that could be raised when suggesting such a mind-shift in the definition of investigative journalism, such as finance and quality of work.

Rather than waiting for the news organisations to provide the funding, Hager said it is possible to move in and out of paid work (related and unrelated) to supplement investigations and apply for grants and university subsidies.

Regarding the question over the quality of work if other professions are adopted into the discipline, Hager said that by taking the best parts of traditional journalism: accuracy, fairness and balance, as well as editorial checking and protection of sources, it would be possible to safeguard against any decline.

According to Hager, the key is to address investigative journalism not in the context of job opportunities but as a profession. Highlighting what is possible if this is done he said, “there are connections and collaborations which mean that we could take this from being something we hope for that doesn’t happen very much to this broad community of people who are doing more.”

Hager’s ideas were well received and played a part in the discussion of the formation of a working support group of investigative journalists in New Zealand and the region. The investigative journalism support group is hoped to be a lasting legacy of the MIJT Conference.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news