December 11 2007, 1:09 PM
The latest round of media layoffs has even the New York Times worrying that "Muckraking Pays, Just Not in Profit":
Investigative reporting can expose corruption, create accountability and occasionally save lives, but it will never be a business unto itself. Reporters frequently spend months on various lines of inquiry, some of which do not pan out, and even when one does, it is not the kind of coverage that draws advertisers.With all due respect to David Carr, and at the risk of seeming like a broken record, I've got to disagree. Four years ago, I made a commitment that 5280 would do more, not less, long-form investigative journalism. Since then, we've done work that, in my humble opinion, rivals the kinds of investigations that Carr praises in his Times essay:
- We documented the holes in a case against an Air Force Academy cadet accused of rape. When those charges were later dismissed, the cadet's father credited 5280 with saving his son from a life sentence.
- We revealed that the Army's ï¬‚agrant abuse of its own recruits during Basic Training was driving some mentally troubled trainees to suicide.
- We uncovered serious conflicts of interest in the system set up to protect veterans who lose their jobs when returning from Iraq.
- We told the story of sick and dying workers at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant who are being denied health benefits, despite the government's unprecedented admission that the workers had been recklessly put in harm's way. Following our report, the workers' cases were re-opened and are now being reviewed.