Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Future of White Collar Investigative Reporting

The diminishing print media is pretty frightening. It seems like every day one opens the newspaper to find another paper laying off people, consolidating, offering buyouts, and basically cutting back.  The dismal economy coupled with decreased advertising in print has serious consequences to the dissemination of news.  Most importantly in hurting print media is the World Wide Web and the availability of news online.

Blogs like this white collar crime blog do not replace the press.  They offer transparency on some issues, and hopefully also offer explanation of the issues covered by the press. This blog also aims at providing links to the vast sources available on the distinct topic of white collar crime.  In a world of information overload, having a place to easily access materials in a particular area can hopefully be time-saving. And to the many who peruse this blog - I thank you for clicking this way as it is nice to know that the many hours of work that this takes is useful to some.

But this blog does not do something very important for people, and it is something that print media has provided - this is investigative reporting. Many a white collar case arose as a result of someone in the media culling through government documents and speaking with relevant people to find corruption, discrepancies, and criminal conduct. Likewise, it is print media that investigates and exposes government improprieties.  The small Watergates that occur throughout the world are brought to light by the hard work of investigative journalists.

With newspapers reducing personnel and the web being an insufficient substitute - at least at present - for advancing this form of reporting, it raises concerns about an important check on government.  It isn't likely that the government will be bailing out this industry, and certainly conflicts arise in even considering this option.  But one has to wonder if white collar crime prosecutions, and other prosecutions of this nature will decrease as the press will no longer be there to expose criminality that is often difficult to prove.  And more importantly, will there be an appropriate check on government conduct when print media becomes a mere skeleton.

(esp) (w/ disclosure that my partner is in print media)

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Your post has touched on a very important subject; the importance of print media and white collar investigative reporting involving. I doubt many outside of the print media industry have given this topic much thought.

I recently cancelled my subscription to the WSJ because of the lack of articles involving financial accounting and reporting. Based upon the complete absence of coverage from one of the worlds premier media organizations, I fear that white collar investigative reporting may already be a thing of the past. This should be cause for concern. It reminds me of an important quote from Thomas Jefferson, who once said:

"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

Posted by: Anthony Menendez | Jul 2, 2008 12:26:18 PM

As a recovering newspaper journalist, and current law student, I thank you for this.

Posted by: MelG-F | Jul 2, 2008 1:14:11 PM

White collar crime reporting, although not as hystrionic as the "news" of real crime, is nevertheless essential to the flow of information about the world of business, finance, law and justice. One could not find this news without your offering internet access, compressed as it is. Although you may not win any reporting awards or Pulitzers, your contributison is essential. May I suggest you retain your own publicist and PR consultant that puts you in the "news", print and broadcast media, just to keep you mainstream. Then, focus on delivery of your messages to college and university studies, and law schools as mandatory reading and classes, along with your email blast to every lawyer and business person possible. The word needs a spreadin....

Posted by: Charles Littlewood | Jul 3, 2008 8:49:55 AM

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