It’s no secret that journalism has taken it on the chin for the past 10-15 years. With media consolidation and downsizing it’s not a big secret that most journalism has become either polarizing or inane and finding anything objective can be challenging, at best (an insanely reductive sentence, I am aware).
That’s not to say that objective journalism doesn’t exist, it does (Media Matters, PBS, ProPublica, etc.) but you have to put some effort into finding it. One of the hardest hit desks in journalism is investigative journalism. Without hopping up on a soapbox and prattling on about what I suspect the why’s of this are, I’ll just say that it mostly just comes down to money. No one wants to finance in-depth journalism.
Local news hasn’t taken it on the chin so much as up a certain orifice BUT luckily with them internets we have access to big city newspapers (those not behind a firewall . . . another time on that one) and they still do some fantastic investigative journalism. In fact, both the New York Times and the Miami Herald dropped two big investigative stories that you should make the time to read.
The Miami Herald – How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
by Julie K. Brown
Look, I don’t have kids and am honestly pretty indifferent about them . . . BUT, I don’t like to see them, or anyone, abused or violated and then swept under the rug while another white male asshole of privilege gets away with just a slap on the wrist. This story is repugnant and the people involved are the type of people who oxygen is wasted on. It’s almost unreadable. NOTE: there are three parts so be sure to look in the upper right hand corner.
The New York Times – ‘If Bobbie Talks, I’m Finished’: How Les Moonves Tried to Silence an Accuser
by James B. Stewart, Rachel Abrams and Ellen Gabler
Twelve months ago, to call Les Moonves the gold standard, nay, platinum standard, of media leadership would have been an understatement. Turns out he was just another corner office prig with a penchant for using his power and position to whip out his wang and force himself on women. I mean, we learned Moonves was just a giant slab of shit a few months ago, but this piece takes his shittiness to Harvey Weinstein like levels. I guess NYU needs to scrap the planned Weinstein/Moonves School on Entertainment Management (not really a thing . . . but knowing NYU, it certainly could’ve been).
Aside from some of the bigger city papers, investigative journalism has found a solid home with podcasts (it’s like radio . . . but fewer commercials). Admittedly, podcasts have taken on a certain bukkake like existence and finding a good one can be challenging: and you can easily go down a strange wormhole and end up listening to some guy ranting about killer bees from his garage BUT there are some really good ones.
APM Reports – In the Dark – Two seasons and both worth your while. In both seasons, it’s hard to say how much the podcast influenced the movement of the cases, but to say they had no impact would be both naive and incorrect. They dig deep and explore avenues the police did not (for various reasons, some even legitimate). In the Dark is a definite highlight on the power that good journalism can make a difference.
The Boston Globe – Gladiator – A deep dive into the short and chaotic life of disgraced NFL superstar Aaron Hernandez. I don’t like football and think the NFL is a pathetic and shit run organization with complete disregard for not only its players but humanity as a whole, BUT I do like sports stories. And this is a good one. I didn’t like the way it ended, I felt they landed a little too soft on Hernandez, who, lest anyone forget, was a convicted murderer. Hernandez was given the keys to the kingdom and quite literally threw them in the trash. HE did that. No one made him do it. There are some interesting elements to his story BUT at the end of the day, he remains a convicted murderer . . . albeit, a dead one. This is also available on the Boston Globe website as a print piece.
Up and Vanished – Season One actually helped re-focus attention on a missing person case (as shocking as that may seem given the title) and helped result in two arrests. Season Two is just as interesting and is prompting the same type of attention, but no results as of yet. Host Payne Lindsey is affable and welcoming as a journalist but smart enough to not come off as a complete rube . . . and nearly as douchey as his name sounds.
There are, quite literally, so many good podcasts. Far too many to list here.
I realize it’s bad and it’s shitty out there in newsland . . . well, everywhere really. And it’s not just SHOTUS (Shit Head of the United States) and all the other things we have tossed at us or jammed down our throats or up our . . . well, you know. But all is not lost. There are still places you can go and find good reporting that says something . . . and sometimes does something.
Both saying something and doing something, well, they matter today . . . perhaps now more than ever.