Investigative reporting sinks in the Bay

In a move that would have Woodward and Bernstein squirming at their typewriters, the San Francisco Chronicle does not intend to replace their last investigative reporter, according to a report in the BayNewser today.

Lance Williams resigned from the paper last week to pursue investigative journalism at the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, according to a report in SFWeekly. He gave this as explanation:

I worked on investigative teams for a long time. Now I’m going back to one.

As staff cuts rip newsrooms apart and strip them bare of quality reporters, is it a surprise that journalists might leave a depleted paper because they are lonely?

And with “I-teams” some of the first staff divisions to be completely scrapped — can’t culture reporters just moonlight as investigators and dig up the dirt for these stories? — newspapers are shattering their journalistic integrity as they try to do more with less.

But hey, today’s newspapers have no time for hard truth. Or teams, apparently. That’s old-school stuff.

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3 responses to “Investigative reporting sinks in the Bay

  1. Graydon Carter, in last month’s edition of Vanity Fair, noted in his Editor’s Letter that the Daily Telegraph in London had been able to substantially boost its circulation through the investigative reporting that led to the House of Commons expense scandal. Moreover, the residual effect was to boost that newspaper’s circulation substantially after they had completed reporting on the story.

  2. Saving newspapers with good reporting? That’s pretty far-fetched!

  3. At a newspaper that, to be honest, has lost much of its local credibility (especially in the wake of its well-publicized budget woes), and in a region so wonderfully saturated with great investigative reporters and teams, maybe the Chron’s editors have realized that it’s time to stick to what it knows best and let the other guys go after the big scoops. Lance Williams is a great reporter and I’m sure the CIR will allow him to flex his investigative muscles better than the Chron could.

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