Sustaining accountability journalism: What recent research shows

  • Event: 2017 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: James Hamilton of Stanford University; Gerry Lanosga of Indiana University; Jason Martin of DePaul University; Mary Hargrove of independent journalist
  • Date/Time: Friday, Jun. 23 at 11:30am
  • Location: Grand Canyon 4-5
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

**Moderated by Mary Hargrove, independent journalist

This panel discussion focuses on the latest academic research into investigative journalism, including a national survey of IRE members and two studies that used the IRE Awards archives to explore how stories are discovered, told and supported, and what their different impacts are. The studies' authors will talk about investigative reporters' sources, methods and agendas, as well as lessons on ways to sustain accountability journalism.


Speaker Bios

  • Jay Hamilton is the Hearst Professor of Communication and Director of the Journalism Program at Stanford. His books include "Democracy's Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism" and "All the News That's Fit to Sell: How The Market Transforms Information into News." He is a co-founder of the Stanford Computational Journalism Lab.

  • Mary Hargrove served on the IRE board eight years and was elected president and chair. She investigated in Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, Washington D.C. and Arkansas.  She won the grand prize Robert F. Kennedy award, the Heywood Broun award, and the Casey Medal.  In 2017 she co-authored the series Shadow Land: How Rape Stays Hidden in Oklahoma which was a finalist for the Scripps Howard award.

  • Gerry Lanosga is an associate professor at Indiana University’s Media School. Previously, he had a 20-year journalism career, winning numerous awards, including a Peabody Award and IRE’s Freedom of Information Medal. Lanosga also serves as executive secretary of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. @gerrylanosga

  • Jason Martin is associate professor and chair of Journalism​ at DePaul University, where he helps coordinate events for the Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence. His research focuses on journalism law and ethics, including a recent manuscript on investigative reporting outcomes published in Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism. @jmart181

Related Tipsheets

  • Journalists, Sources, and Policy Outcomes: Insights from IRE Contest Entries
    Normative expectation: investigative journalists are watchdog on democratic governance. Therefore, explanations of how stories begin, how they relate to key sources, and what qualities make substantive outcomes more likely are key to understanding and promoting the profession. Previous studies relied on analysis of published stories, which misses key aspects of reporting process (tips, dead-ends, background sources, history with sources). How do journalists and sources work together to build the news agenda? Most agenda building studies focus on PR info subsidies & few link building of media agenda to policy implications.

  • Lessons from Democracy’s Detectives
    Investigative journalism is underprovided in the market, but new combinations of data and algorithms may make it easier for journalists to discover and tell the stories that hold institutions accountable

  • Spotlight on Investigative Journalists: Results from National Survey Data
    Investigative journalism is the highest expression of the media’s watchdog role, but it faces continual pressures from both internal and external forces (e.g. legal threats and newsroom economics). Despite the centrality of watchdog reporting to modern journalistic identity, there had been no broad survey of investigative journalists since 1991. Here are some from Gerry Lanosga and Brant Houston