Before one can say investigative journalism has a future, one must first define investigative journalism. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “the activity of news reporters trying to discover information which is of public interest, but which someone might be keeping hidden.1 In the technology era, almost no information can be hidden with the internet access in almost any location. While many have argued that the internet is killing journalism, it may be more accurate to say online information is putting an end to print journalism.
While print journalism has become too slow to cover breaking news, online journalism is still thriving. Even if people are being spoiled by free news coverage by certain sites, this does not mean investigative journalism has come to a halt. It merely means there has been a shift in priorities and the industry needs to rework itself.
A study done by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, associated with the University of Oxford, said while they believe the newspaper industry is declining, they think the decline has been gradual enough for most media organizations to make transitions. The study said it expects many media sources will still have a central role in news coverage in the future.
Many news sources have begun embracing the technological aspects of journalism. For example, the New York Times began charging for online access in 2011. The newspaper decided to grant readers access to 20 free stories per month. If readers went over this limit, they were given several subscription options in order to continue. Although some readers decided it was not worth the price, faithful readers decided to pay for online coverage, as well access to the newspaper’s smart phone application.
With the internet and news resources so readily available, it is almost impossible for investigative journalism to completely die out. As much as people can tweet about an important or terrifying incident, such as the shooting outside of the Empire State Building in August, there is only so much information a normal civilian can receive immediately.
While a normal person can tweet what they see or post a picture to Facebook, real news coverage is required to be able to obtain all of the facts. It also provides a space where readers can go to receive accurate information, photos and statistics, all in the same place. While it is true investigative journalism outlets are being condensed, it still has the potential for a healthy future if news outlets can adjust to technological changes.