Ronan Farrow & The Challenge of "Investigative Journalism"

Casablanca

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Ronan Farrow is an investigative journalist with NBC's Today Show, heading up a segment in that show called Undercover with Ronan Farrow.

Farrow (see Wiki bio linked) has led, for a 29 year old, a busy life. A lawyer by trade, having graduated from Yale, he has worked for the UN and as a special advisor to Hillary Clinton. His mother is Mia Farrow and there is some ambiguity (based on his mother's, the Sinatra Family's and his own statements on the issue) as to whether his father is Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronan_Farrow

Farrow recently brought a story to NBC concerning a Media Tycoon and his alleged sexual assaults on a number of actresses over along period. NBC didn't broadcast the story, which Farrow then took to the New Yorker which ran the story. You may be familiar with the fallout which is covered on all international media, including the playing of tapes on RTE today.

My focus is on the failure of NBC to carry the story and it's then take up by The New Yorker, and the questions it raises:

Is there still a role, in the internet age, for old fashioned investigative reporting?
What influences a particular new organisation to run a story, or not?
Are there particular forces at play in organisations when the subject of the story is a high profile one?
 
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mr_anderson

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Farrow recently brought a story to NBC concerning a Media Tycoon and his alleged sexual assaults on a number of actresses over along period. NBC didn't broadcast the story, which Farrow then took to the New Yorker which ran the story. You may be familiar with the fallout which is covered on all international media, including the playing of tapes on RTE today.

My focus is on the failure of NBC to carry the story and it's then take up by The New Yorker, and the questions it raises:

Is there still a role, in the internet age, for old fashioned investigative reporting?
What influence a particular new organisation to run a story, or not?
Are there particular forces at play in organisations when the subject of the story is a high profile one?

As traditional media declines, falling viewership results in falling advertising revenue.
Consequently, large advertisers now have immense clout when it comes to dictating editorial power.

In the past, investigative reporters were afraid of getting their story wrong.
Now they also run huge risks when getting their story right.

I can immediately recall one incident of an Irish journalist getting the boot after penning a (mildly unflattering, but truthful) piece relating to a significant advertiser.
Ironically of course, but thanks to the Streisand Effect, the article would have been quickly forgotten were it not for the after-effects.

The situation in the Irish media is even worse because of our libel laws.
Ask any experienced journalist about stories they cannot print. There's a long list.

Our country badly needs a US-style 1st amendment in the constitution.
 

Casablanca

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As traditional media declines, falling viewership results in falling advertising revenue.
Consequently, large advertisers now have immense clout when it comes to dictating editorial power.

In the past, investigative reporters were afraid of getting their story wrong.
Now they also run huge risks when getting their story right.


I can immediately recall one incident of an Irish journalist getting the boot after penning a (mildly unflattering, but truthful) piece relating to a significant advertiser.
Ironically of course, but thanks to the Streisand Effect, the article would have been quickly forgotten were it not for the after-effects.

The situation in the Irish media is even worse because of our libel laws.
Ask any experienced journalist about stories they cannot print. There's a long list.

Our country badly needs a US-style 1st amendment in the constitution.
I think the bolded part above is very true.

What's the Streisand Effect?
 

mr_anderson

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Casablanca

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

Essentially, the very act of trying to hush something up, draws even more attention to it.
I see, thank you.

Doesn't that then raise further questions over the NBC position. If they knew, that by dropping the story themselves, that somebody else would run with it ( and it isn't as if Farrow wouldn't have lots of medial/political contacts), why did they walk away from it?
 

artfoley56

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I see, thank you.

Doesn't that then raise further questions over the NBC position. If they knew, that by dropping the story themselves, that somebody else would run with it ( and it isn't as if Farrow wouldn't have lots of medial/political contacts), why did they walk away from it?
prob thought wienstein would spike it anywhere else it went
 

mr_anderson

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I see, thank you.

Doesn't that then raise further questions over the NBC position. If they knew, that by dropping the story themselves, that somebody else would run with it ( and it isn't as if Farrow wouldn't have lots of medial/political contacts), why did they walk away from it?
Yes and no.
This isn't the first paedo story to emerge from Hollywood.
Indeed, most fail to gain traction.
So the success of this story was not certain by any measure.
It required major balls to publish.
 

Casablanca

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prob thought wienstein would spike it anywhere else it went
Very possible. There did seem a certain reluctance on the part of some media outlets to run with it at first. Perhaps is a less public and well-connected figure than Farrow had written it, it might never have seen the light.
 

mr_anderson

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Very possible. There did seem a certain reluctance on the part of some media outlets to run with it at first. Perhaps is a less public and well-connected figure than Farrow had written it, it might never have seen the light.

I wonder if Farrow was asked to put his wealth on the line also, had Weinstein sued ?
 

gerhard dengler

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Yes and no.
This isn't the first paedo story to emerge from Hollywood.
Indeed, most fail to gain traction.
So the success of this story was not certain by any measure.
It required major balls to publish.
William Randolph Hearst's publications reported on the activities of Hollywood personalities such as Arbuckle. So there is precedence.
 

Ardillaun

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Is there still a role, in the internet age, for old fashioned investigative reporting?
What influences a particular new organisation to run a story, or not?
Are there particular forces at play in organisations when the subject of the story is a high profile one?
More than ever, I would say, as media power concentrates in the hands of a tiny elite.

https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/tv/hbos-john-oliver-gives-a-passionate-pitch-for-local-newspapers/

At least the Yanks don't have so much libel chill killing their stories.
 

mr_anderson

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William Randolph Hearst's publications reported on the activities of Hollywood personalities such as Arbuckle. So there is precedence.

True.
But it goes back to my first point - the decline of traditional media have left them reliant on fewer large advertisers.
Hence the power these advertisers now have.
 

Ardillaun

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It's a golden time to be a crooked councillor or gombeen enabler. I'm talking North America as well as Ireland. The major guys still get looked at but the town papers are disappearing everywhere. Citizen journalism is patchy at best out in the sticks and it's hard to sustain an investigation if any threats come your way.
 
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Casablanca

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More than ever, I would say, as media power concentrates in the hands of a tiny elite.

https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/tv/hbos-john-oliver-gives-a-passionate-pitch-for-local-newspapers/

At least the Yanks don't have so much libel chill killing their stories.
An interesting if tangental, fact is that the world's greatest investor, Warren Buffett, who a few years ago starting buying up newspaper titles, now thinks they're doomed.

Warren Buffett changes his mind about newspapers: 'Newspapers are going to go downhill' - Talking New MediaTalking New Media | The digital publishing website
 

redhead

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The first rule of celebrity scandals on P.ie is:

You do not mention celebrity scandals on P.ie.



The second rule of celebrity scandals on P.ie is:

You DO NOT MENTION celebrity scandals on P.ie
 

redhead

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Excellent OP btw but when I saw the "Farrow &" in the title, I thought this was going to be a thread about house decoration. ;)
 

Casablanca

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The first rule of celebrity scandals on P.ie is:

You do not mention celebrity scandals on P.ie.





The second rule of celebrity scandals on P.ie is:

You DO NOT MENTION celebrity scandals on P.ie
It's an intriguing question and not just for P.ie(but most certainly including it!)

There was, by all accounts, some media/forums that were reluctant to report on this particular revelation of Farrow's, that is the Harvey Wienstein case of course. Again, I wonder why that would be at all, and whether the story wouldn't have been published at all if it were a less connected person who wrote it. Going back to the OP, why would, in this day and age of virtually instant news, some sources run from a story that was front page in The Guardian and many others?
 


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