Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair, has warned that in-depth reporting, particularly investigative journalism, is at risk.
News outlets are reducing their spending on original reporting in favour of cheaper materials, and as a result, renowned organizations such as BuzzFeed and Vice are downsizing their newsrooms, she said. Despite a current “golden age” of investigative journalism, with outstanding examples in South Africa and Russia, Brown believes that the future of this type of journalism is threatened by digital disruption, corporate cuts, and the collapse of platforms. She emphasizes the need for editors to be imaginative in their approach to serious journalism, making it both informative and engaging.
Brown believes that the key to sustaining investigative journalism is to keep people engaged with the story, and that social media can be a valuable tool in this regard. However, it also creates a cluttered environment where many competing outlets are vying for the public’s attention.
Brown has established a foundation, in memory of her late husband Sir Harry Evans, to encourage the next generation of investigative journalists. She spoke on the occasion of the foundation’s first event (on May 10th in London) and will featuring renowned speakers including Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner.
The event Truth Tellers is hosted by Reuters Editor-in-Chief Alessandra Galloni, Durham University Vice Chancellor Karen O’Brien, Tina Brown CBE. A fellowship is being set up in conjunction with Durham University and Reuters.
The event was being billed as an opportunity to bring together the world’s most dogged and diverse truth-seekers, both seasoned and innovative: unsung reporters who risk their lives and reputations, intrepid war photographers, digital data sleuths, relentless documentarians, and enterprising investigators in podcasting, publishing, TV, and streaming media.