2 thoughts on “Should Investigative Journalists Partner with Business?

  1. “There will always be risks of distraction, conflict of interest, or dependence in these relationships, and they will have to be monitored and managed.” Fine, but who, in the end, will be responsible for such monitoring and management; i.e., who will monitor the monitors?

  2. Dear Hrant, thanks for raising the question. Certainly there could be verification by independent groups; that’s how a number of corporate social responsibility initiatives function, and some of them are quite worthwhile. We can also expect any number of critics to keep a close eye on the situation.
    But monitoring the monitors is possibly a process step we can all do without. We were thinking that partnerships between business and investigative reporting will be monitored by a) the partners and b) the audience for the investigative work. It is really quite stunning how quickly audiences realize that a media they trusted is no longer telling what it knows. In Kenya, one botched big story set back The Nation Media Group for years (they learned their lesson and are now the benchmark in their market); in France, Le Monde’s compromised performance on the “Contaminated Blood” scandal had a similar effect (they came back too, but only after losing many of their best people to a start-up, Mediapart.fr).
    As for the partners, conflict and its resolution are well-known features of business alliances. So is the fact that over time, people engaged in partnerships get better at running them. The bottom line is that we can get better at this.

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