James L. Aucoin's Invetigative Reporting

996 Words 4 Pages
Invetigative reporting has been taking place since the first American newspaper in 1690 but only recently has it become associated with more fringe media than the mainstream media sources.
James L. Aucoin’s book provides 300 years of reporting; including exposes,watchdog articles, hard-hitting investigative pieces and everything in between. The book does a solid job of looking closesly at how investigative reporting has taken on the the qualities of a lasting social institution, specifically between the 1960-1990 period.
He credits the professionalization of reporting to the creation of the organization known as the Investigative Reporter and Editors, known as the IRE. The book provides readers with the first ever comprehensive history of
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the Revolutionary and Civil War exposes were important and how exposes fell off around World War I but then re-emerged after the depression and WorldWar II.
After this time is when Aucoin wrote that major media began accepting, "a duty to report beyond the superficial handouts from those with social and political power." After the Sullivan decision by the Supreme Court that saw a lessening in libel threat and the federal Freedom of Information Act in 1967, investigative journalism began to boom.
The IRE was founded in 1975, shortly after the act was put into law. It was founded by 13 journalist in Virginia and when it held its first national conference, attracted over 300 people. After settling in the University of Missouri it still provides publications, conferences and rank-and-file networking probably unmatched in journalism history.
The most crucial contributions the IRE has made, the book suggests, is the defining and defending of investigating as a genre. It keeps the work originated by journalists, exposing scandals or problems, safe while using massive research, documentation and verification to help the integrity of the journalists
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In the conclusion, as through the entire book, Aucoin writes of the IRE and how they say the reporter’s product is a subject to their “initiative and efforts,” meaning that reporting on government agencies was no longer investigative journalism. Rather the idea has to be original and of great importance.
The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism was an interesting look back in time overviewing investigative journalism and its rise through time. The importance of investigative reporting and not backing down from any piece of work. The book focused mainly on the IRE and the importance it had on the industry and how it helped to revolutionize investigative

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