As our society continues to grow and evolve, secrets will be hidden from the public more often than not. These secrets should be known to everyone, and this is where the Importance of Investigative reporting comes Into play. Investigative reporting Is a type of journalism that tries to discover information of public interest that someone is trying to hide (English Definition of “Investigative Journalism”). The topic in which the reporter investigates is solely dependent on their own personal interest, or the interest of their editor.
These topics could range from government and politics to Alice negligence. Despite the risks, investigative reporting is very valuable to our society because It looks for the burled Lies and secrets being withheld from the public that could directly affect us. Over the past years there have been many investigations that were started by reporters which then initiated public outrage and caused for further investigation by the proper authorities. One such investigation was carried out by Craig McCoy, the city editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The investigation was described in his essay called How We Got That Story: The Buried Rapes. The spark of interest began in 1998 when the Inquirer wrote articles about how the Philadelphia police department had Ignored reporting of crime In order to make their citizens believe their city was more safe than it really actually was. Many officers admitted to this occurring, but claimed that murder and rape was accurately recorded. However in 1998 there was a report where a woman said she was raped by a loan shark in front of other men and yet this claim was demoted to a code that said “investigation of person. This prompted for further investigation and they later covered there were thousands of similar reports that were classified as “investigation of person” or “code 2701 The Investigation soon brought to light that multiple different rape cases that were ignored, were all victims of rape by the same criminal who is still at large (Windburn). The reporters received an anonymous call which described two 1997 attacks that were dismissed. The caller told the reporter that “these assaults appeared to be the work of the same man who had committed other rapes, and then gone on to murder a woman In 1998” (Wilbur).
The serial rapist could have been stopped before there as another victim if the Philadelphia police department had actually looked Into these rape cases. According to the essay, there was a trend to the types of rape cases which were overlooked. The police tended to ignore cases involving poor or transient women, and also women with drug abuse or criminal records. Such negligence by the police were not widely known by the public, however with the help of the Inquirer team this Issue was brought to light.
Many Woman’s groups requested the police department to go back over all the rape accusations and make sure they were properly investigated (Windburn). They also demanded for reform in the rape squad unit for the Philadelphia police and also wanted to check on their performance. If the reporters never took on this problem and investigated it so deeply, Philadelphia could still be facing the same problem today and there would be even more victims whose voices were halted by the police’s lack of effort.
In 2002 the Boston Globe’s Globe Spotlight Team published an article which to Globe Spotlight Team’s article, “Since the mid-sass, more than 130 people have come forward with horrific childhood tales about how former priest John J. Goanna allegedly fondled or raped them during a three-decade spree through a half-dozen Greater Boston parishes” (Resends). The most upsetting thing about this is that the Catholic Church knew of his tendency of child abuse and yet they continued to move him from church to church.
Every time there was a sexual abuse accusation against Goanna, the church would settle it quietly which was done to protect the people’s perspective of the church. Goanna would target boys from the church’s youth programs as young as age 4. The Globe’s team did a phenomenal investigation on the matter and discovered any details on the way the church handled the abuse. In 1984, it was Cardinal Bernard F. LaWs first year in Boston and he was the one who oversaw all of the priests in the Greater Boston.
He knew of Shogun’s scandal yet continued to relocate him to other churches which resulted in many more victims. During the investigation team’s research, they discovered evidence that the archdiocese already had of Shogun’s habits of sexual abuse. One of the pieces of evidence was Shogun’s assertion in 1980 said that “his repeated abuse of seven boys in one extended family as not a serious problem” (Resends). With the truth exposed, many victims gathered together to issue a lawsuit against Goanna which received national viewers.
The main point of investigative reporting is to bring light to a subject in order for the public to know about. According to Boston. Coma’s coverage on the Goanna case, “After a January 2002 report on Goanna by the Globe Spotlight Team, the case became a catalyst for revelations of other clergy abuse and church covers. Dozens of priests were accused of abuse by hundreds of alleged victims ho filed lawsuits, forcing the archdiocese to release damaging documents that showed the church’s obsession with avoiding scandal and protecting its reputation” (Boston. Mom). One such case that was a catalyst of the Goanna case was the Tucson, Arizona case where a bishop and two priests were involved in sexual abuse with a teenager in the late sass. The teen was later given a chancery Job in exchange for his silence (Resends). The national attention the Goanna case brought upon the nation led to a chain reaction of many other cases arising in the coming years after 2000. If not for the investigative reporting done by the Globe Spotlight Team, these cases would have been quietly settled by the higher ups of the church.
The greatest weapon for reporters who go undercover to discover these secrets is the eyes of the public. Once these atrocities become known to the public, it only becomes a matter of time before it blows up into nation coverage. It doesn’t take a professional investigation team in order to unravel some of the secrets of our society. Since we were children we have always been curious about different aspects of our life and would always ask questions. Near the end of 2013, student reporters had discovered the discrimination which the sororities of the University of Alabama had conducted.
As stated in the article on Poetry, before school had begun, many knew that a well-qualified black woman at the University of Alabama would be pledging the white sororities. She had an outstanding background with family who were alums, her grandfather was on the Board of Trustees, and she had spectacular was prepared to write about such a great addition to the sororities, however the student was not invited to any of the 16 white sororities on campus. Culture Editor Abbey Grain and Magazine Editor Matt Ford of The Crimson White became the lead investigators for this issue after speaking with the Poetry Excellence Project (McBride).
Grain did a lot of questioning with students who were a part of the sorority and finally tracked down 4 students who would tell their stories. They published an article called, “The Final Barrier: 50 Years Later Segregation Still Exists. ” This article covered their interviews with the students whoa greed to share the process of the rush and why the black student was not invited. The students claimed hey did plan on inviting the black student to the sororities, however they were forced to stop after receiving pressure from alums and their advisors (McBride).
It is unbelievable that there would still be such racial discrimination still occurring in Universities. Although this is not the current students of the sororities fault and more so of the previous generations ideals, this matter should have been exposed earlier than this. Who knows how long woman of different backgrounds have been denied entry to excelling sororities in their own respective colleges. This investigation became known widely in our nation. The fact that this was a documentation of the process of rushing for sororities only made it even more of an interesting topic.
Rushing has always been secretive, and many members of sororities will refuse to tell anyone of what happens. The published article caused an outrage with the students and faculty. On September 18, about 400 students and staff protested on campus after release of this information. Several sororities opened their rush process again in order to invite several woman of color into their sororities (McBride). Grain and Ford were merely students at the university engrossed by their Journalism. This goes to show that anyone with the proper motivation can become an investigative reporter.
Had Grain and Ford not step up and investigate this rush process, they would never have uncovered the secret manipulation from the alumnae and advisors which lead to the racial discrimination of woman rushing for the sororities. The release of this story will not only affect the way Alabama University sororities complete their rush process, but also many other organizations will now look into their own process of selecting candidates in order to prevent outside influence and discrimination. Investigative reporting brings to our attention the secrets of a person or organization.
Receiving national attention can cause tremendous pressure on the person or organization and would lead to the higher ups being forced to change the way they have been doing things. Investigators put themselves at risk of retaliation when delving into secrets that people want kept away. In the article “The Importance and Dangers of Investigative Journalism – Urban Times”, they claimed “However dangerous investigative Journalism can be, it is utterly imperative for legal proceedings and historical accuracy.
Yet it cannot be denied that death, or harm, seems an astoundingly sizeable price to pay for any kind of revelation, whatever its importance” (Urban Times). Investigative Journalism is a very hazardous task to undertake. Tasks such as going overseas to uncover secrets of a war, investigating the possible misuse of funds by high ranking politicians and officials could lead to hazardous situations. One such example was, Independent Television News’s Terry invasion. He was the man who broke the news that Sadder Hussein used chemical weapons that killed 5000 in 1988 (Urban Times).
Despite the dangerous conditions a porter can undertake for investigations, the value of the information they can obtain is absolutely integral to the public. If not for people taking these risks, the public would never find out about certain truths and they would never be able to make an impact on it. Investigative reporting has become a necessity for our society in order to keep certain people and organizations in check. If not for the reporters investigating the Philadelphia police negligence, Priest Shogun’s sexual abuse, or the discrimination in the University of Alabama, these issues could have continued to today.