By Mark Thompson
The opinions discussed are his own.
In the UK we are going through an unprecedented crisis in journalism, a crisis with the boundaries and techniques of investigative journalism at its heart.
We don’t yet know what will emerge from this crisis and from Lord Leveson’s Inquiry, but any recommendations about new laws or regulation will be studied with interest by Governments around the world.
Before the phone-hacking scandal, conventional wisdom suggested that traditional investigative journalism faced two threats: the first economic, the second related to the impact of the internet and new forms of journalism and disclosure it has enabled.
The economic one is so familiar I won’t dwell on it for long. It is that – in common with other forms of quality journalism – the deteriorating business models for newspapers, in the developed world at least, may not be able to support the cost of mounting often expensive and protracted investigations.
The commercial fundamentals may not be quite so challenging in the global broadcast arena, but here too pessimists would point to the pressure on commissioners and schedulers to focus on those genres which bring in the largest number of viewers and commercial impacts: here too, they would argue, investigative journalism is under threat.