Friday 5 June 2015

Excellent, old-fashioned investigative journalism

From The Washington Post:

"How a curmudgeonly old reporter exposed the FIFA scandal that toppled Sepp Blatter"

Some snippets:

Jennings is an advocate of slow, methodical journalism. For half a century, the 71-year-old investigative reporter has been digging into complex, time-consuming stories about organized crime. In the 1980s, it was bad cops, the Thai heroin trade and the Italian mob. In the ’90s, he turned to sports, exposing corruption with the International Olympic Committee.

For the past 15 years, Jennings has focused on the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), international soccer’s governing body. As other journalists were ball watching — reporting scorelines or writing player profiles — Jennings was digging into the dirty deals underpinning the world’s most popular game.

“I’m a document hound. If I’ve got your documents, I know all about you,” he said. “This journalism business is easy, you know. You just find some disgraceful, disgustingly corrupt people and you work on it! You have to. That’s what we do. The rest of the media gets far too cozy with them. It’s wrong. Your mother told you what was wrong. You know what’s wrong. Our job is to investigate, acquire evidence.”

That is, essentially, Jennings’s mantra: Take time, dig up dirt and don’t trust those in power.

In the Malaysian context, journalism has improved clearly over the last two decades, partially helped by the popularity of the internet and the shift towards increased transparency. Good investigative stories, for instance regarding 1MDB, have emerged. Some people seem to be not yet ready for this shift.

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