I miss sitting down in front of my television to watch a programme I know will change the way I view society, the government or ‘the system’.
Sometimes they are difficult to watch but they are the ones you should watch because they are so important. They are law changing, justice making, rights addressing, abuse exposing programmes that need to be seen and made.
Panorama and Dispatches do an excellent job of the topics they cover but I’m hard pushed to find any others on terrestrial TV.
And this concerns me.
Many local papers no longer exist. This excellence source of stories would often direct readers to what the local council were up to, public meetings, planning permissions, new developments, as well as bonanzas from local shops and discounts from local tradesman.
On the surface these were ‘dull’ announcements, dig deeper and you would find out what was really going on. Questions I and other colleagues ask, would Grenfell have happened if there was still a vibrant local press?
I’m also struck by my recent attendance at a talk by Carole Cadwalladr at Hay-On-Wye. She recounted how when she was digging into the story of Cambridge Analytica, she was still struggling to persuade the powers that be to a) take the story, b) give her a contract.
Why is investigative journalism being sidelined in this way? Why isn’t it being supported and its journalists invested in? As each channel/programme/newspaper seeks to be more distinctive and seeks to attract the maximum number of clicks online, can they not see that they needs a cool, calm, long-term investigation which can and sometimes do, ‘change the system’?
The industry is going through huge change and budgets are being cut drastically. However, I sincerely believe that investigative journalism needs to grow not shrink.