The New Age of Investigative Journalism

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In 1950, the average daily total paid circulation for daily newspapers in the United States was 53.8 million.  By 2010, the average daily total paid circulation for daily newspapers was about 43.4 million, according to a 2011 study.

Technology is partially responsible for this. Smartphones and the Internet have transformed the media making it readily available to the public at any time of the day. In the past decade, more people are getting their news through these mediums than through print.

The number of jobs available in print journalism is dropping.  Jobs from reporter to delivery truck driver showed the payroll shrinking from 336,000 at the start of 2009 to 313,600 through October, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This is a drop of 22,400 positions.

However, some are adjusting to the changes. Last year, former Buffalo News reporter Jim Heaney founded Investigative Post, a non-profit online investigative reporting center focused on issues of importance to Buffalo and Western New York.  Former dean of St. Bonaventure University’s Russell J. Jandoli Journalism and Mass Communication School Lee Coppola serves as president of the organization.

The staff at Investigative Post are experienced reporters and the website is updated with new material every day.

There are more than 40 cities and regions around the nation with a non-profit investigative reporting center. According to investigativepost.org, most of the centers have been established in the past five years in reaction to cutbacks in newspaper and television newsrooms that have hamstrung their ability to produce investigative and other in-depth coverage.

Instead of competing with other news outlets, the staff at Investigative Post collaborates with them.  So far, they have partnered with WGRZ, 2 on Your Side, the NBC affiliate for Buffalo and Western New York, Artvoice, the region’s alternative newsweekly, and WBFO, 88.7 FM, the region’s national public radio outlet.

Investigative Post has also partnered with St. Bonaventure, University at Buffalo and Medaille College to provide undergraduate students with internship and job opportunities.

“In this world of diminishing investigative journalism resources, Investigative Post provides another means for shedding light on what some want hidden,” Coppola states on the website. “As far as I’m concerned, the more experienced investigative journalistic eyes watching what happens in our region, the better.”

As a freshman at St. Bonaventure, I was told that many of us would be hired for jobs that don’t exist now.  Two years later, I’m starting to believe it.  Journalism is changing but won’t disappear.

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