28 novembro 2008

Jornalismo suburbano

Depois do Expresso sair de Lisboa e, aparentemente, o novo meio que se prepara para 2009 se instalar também em Oeiras, será que os jornais que ficam em Lisboa (ou dentro das cidades, em geral) têm mais "jornalismo de proximidade"?

[investigative journalist and author Phillip Knightley], the award-winning reporter who led the Sunday Times' legendary Insight team between 1965 and 1985, said it was a 'great mistake' for newspapers to move from city centre premises to cheaper out-of-town locations, making access more difficult for potential sources.

The migration had severed one of the fundamental links between investigative journalists and their informants, Knightley argued.

"A newspaper has got to be in the centre of things," he said. "Prospective whistleblowers used to be able to walk down the northern side of Fleet Street and go past three or four newspapers.

"If one knocked you back, you could go into the next one. Nowadays it would require a conscious decision and half a day to go down to Wapping, and when you got there they probably wouldn't let you in anyway." [...]

His proudest achievement, he said, was the Insight team's investigation into the tax evasions of the wealthy Vestey family. He described how a moment of luck sparked a two-year investigation, culminating in the exposure of the Vesteys' £88m scam and the amendment of British offshore tax law.

"The Vestey investigation walked into my life off the street," Knightley said. "The man who brought it in was an academic who was on holiday. He was walking past The Sunday Times and just thought, 'Maybe they'll be interested in all this research I've done'. That couldn't happen any more."

Knightley said handing over editorial budgets to accountants had also cut down reporters' opportunities to work on investigations, which were rarely deemed cost-effective. Australian newspapers, for example, were calculating stories' cost efficiency word by word, he said.

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