Universities a resource for investigative journalism | Podcast Assignment

In this podcast Richard Baker unpacks the role that citizen journalism has had on his career and gives an insight into what he thinks the future of investigative journalism will look like.

Richard Baker, Investigative Journalist at The Age talks about the role digitalisation, citizen journalism and universities will play in the future of investigative journalism.

There is no doubt that the journalism industry is changing. The way people receive information in 2018 is dramatically different to what it was a decade ago. Despite this disruption, the role of the media still remains paramount to democracy and justice. Particularly the role of investigative journalism, in a time where truth in the news is not always a given. This podcast will discuss how the industry has adapted to the challenges presented by digitalisation and citizen journalism.

One of the largest impacts to the changing face of journalism is the digital age and all the associated benefits and risks that accompany it.

A study by PEW Research Centre found that in 2017 41% of Australians get their daily news from social networking sites such as Facebook with 61% getting their news from the internet in general.

Not only has social media revolutionised the way which people view their news but it has also become a divisive tool in the pursing of stories.

Investigative Journalism from The Age, Richard Baker thinks that the digital age poses innumerable advantages for his industry.

“In terms of selling your story or product it is massive, in terms of getting shares, and information out there knowing that a large proportion of your audience is getting their news from social media” said Richard.

Social media has not only modifying the way in which journalists communicate with their audiences and boosted revenue potential, but has expanded the scope for journalistic research.

“Social media is great repository for linking people and proving connections, Facebook, Instagram, if you want to prove two people are in the same place at the same time, you had to have a photograph or one of them admit to it” said Richard.

Social media as a tool for journalistic research opens up a new world for gathering, verifying and disseminating of information. One of the concerns with social media as a journalistic tool is that the platform can be used by citizens to conduct their own investigations and publish them without the editing and fact-checking of a media organisation. These opens up the world to an array of information conducted by non-professionals, which could see bias and inaccuracies filter into the publics news stream.

Deloitte Media Consumer Survey 2017 revealed “Sixty-five percent of respondents who access news through online sources are concerned about being exposed to  ‘fake news’ online and 77% believe they have been exposed.”

The presence of ‘fake news’ and lack of objectivity is a genuine cause for the public to distrust the media. Although contrary to popular belief journalists think that it is this ‘fake news’ phenomenon which paradoxically has boosted the publics reliance and interest into legitimate news organisations.

“People will see the difference between news that is instant and put up there with little preparation as opposed to something that breaks a big story and sets a change of events unfolding wether that means legislative change or something that gets everyone talking” says Richard.