Investigative journalism in a socially networked world

Pacific Journalism Review 20 (1) 61-75.

Abstract: This article explores how investigative journalists can join the network society by moving online, collaborating with other reporters and media outlets across regions and across national borders, yet publishing in newspapers which arguably remain the central stage of the public sphere (Carson, 2013). A better understanding of the potential of social media and web-based communications for undertaking journalistic investigations can lead to the adoption of a global perspective, enriching local, regional and national stories (Berglez, 2013). The research and collaboration for a transnational story published simultaneously in ‘The Australian’ and ‘The Times’ in London in 2013 may provide insights into the potential for the use of social media platforms and web-based communications for finding stories, collaborating and following stories into the social media to find leads to follow-up stories. This article questions whether the synergies between mainstream media and social media platforms may yield potentially high impact stories for major masthead newspapers and thus contribute to their sustainability. Connectivity with news sources has always been an important resource for journalists. Online networks may have the potential to expand the range of voices that can be heard and the issues that can be covered.

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Why disaster survivors speak to reporters

Australian Journalism Review 35 (12) 71 – 81

Abstract: Practice-led journalism research techniques were used in this study to produce a ‘first draft of history’ recording the human experience of survivors and rescuers during the January 2011 flash flood disaster in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley in Queensland, Australia. The study aimed to discover what can be learnt from engaging in journalistic reporting of natural disasters, using journalism as both a creative practice and a research methodology. (Lindgren and Phillips, 2011, 75) The willingness of a very high proportion of severely traumatised flood survivors to participate in the flood research was unexpected but made it possible to document a relatively unstudied question within the literature about journalism and trauma – when and why disaster survivors will want to speak to journalists. The study reports six categories of reasons interviewees gave for their willingness to speak to the media: for their own personal recovery; their desire for the public to know what had happened; that lessons need to be learned from the disaster; their sense of duty to make sure warning systems and disaster responses are improved in future; the financial disinterest of reporters in listening to survivors; and the timing of the request for an interview. In addition, traumatised flood survivors found both the opportunity to speak to the media and the journalistic outputs of the research cathartic in their recovery.

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 Harnessing the power of real and virtual social networks during disasters

National Emergency Response, Journal of the Australian Institute of Emergency Services. Vol 26 Winter, 8-11.

Abstract: The mass media and emergency services organisations routinely gather information and disseminate it to the public. During disaster situations both the media and emergency services require acute situational awareness. New social media technologies offer opportunities to enhance situational awareness by crowd-sourcing information using real and virtual social networks. This paper documents how real and virtual social networks were used by a reporter and by members of the public to gather and disseminate emergency information during the flash flood disaster in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley in January 2011 and in the days and weeks after the disaster.

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Taking Trauma Home

The Walkley Magazine. Magazine of the Walkley Foundation 50 (April/May) 27-28.

Reporting on death and accidents in regional and rural areas can exact a heavy toll

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