Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Volume 20, Issue 1

Investigative journalism trends
May, 2014

Rasta had one hand severed and the other mutilated by the frenzied crowd in Papua New Guinea. An image with a Jo Chandler investigation. © VLAD SOKHIN

PJR 20(1) May 2014 cover

May, 2014

ISSN: 1023-9499

In this issue…

Excerpt from the editorial: Professor Wendy Bacon:

Journalism with integrity
THIS IS the third issue Pacific Journalism Review has published on the theme of investigative journalism in recent years. Our first issue (PJR, 2011) followed the first regional Investigative Journalism conference held at the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology in December 2010. In that issue, we argued that universities and academic journalists have an important role to play in building a culture of investigative reporting in the region. This issue follows up on that suggestion by focusing particularly on investigative journalism produced in an academic context.

The second edition followed the ‘Back to the Source’ conference hosted by the Australian Centre for Investigative Journalism (ACIJ) and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in September 2011 (PJR, 2012). Since our 2011 issue, pressures on the business model that once sustained high quality investigative journalism have continued to increase. As we go to press, photographers’ jobs at Fairfax media are threatened. Journalists have mobilised to focus public attention on the role of photographers as newsgatherers. Walkley Award-winning Fairfax photographer Kate Geraghty’s picture of asylum seekers holding up their identity cards as they are transported in buses into the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea in 2013 is a reminder of how images recorded by journalists courageous enough to defy official restrictions on media have both humanised and publicised the plight of asylum seekers in our region.

While high quality journalism of this kind still exists inside traditional mainstream organisations and should be strongly supported, a lack of resources and media organisation leadership means that media is as likely to celebrate power as it is to challenge it. In an interview with The Guardian in September 2013, Seymour Hersh, a leading investigative reporter of his era, was critical of US journalists who he said were too timid and close to power. He reminded journalists their fundamental job was to be an ‘outsider’, confronting, not acting as a handmaiden to power.

Frontline editor: Professor Wendy Bacon

Fulltext of all PJR articles available on the INFORMIT subscription database

This edition is a co-publication with the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney.



1. Journalism with integrity
Wendy Bacon


2. Big news in a small country—developing independent public interest journalism in NZ
Investigative journalism trends
Peter Griffin
3. Pacific Media Watch and protest in Oceania: An investigative free media case study
Investigative journalism trends
David Robie
4. Investigative journalism in a socially networked world
Investigative journalism trends
Amanda Gearing
5. Research degrees in journalism: What is an exegesis?
Investigative journalism trends
Chris Nash
6. HRECs and journalism research: The uneven playing field
Investigative journalism trends
Kayt Davies
7. Journalists’ confidential sources: Reform lessons from recent Australian shield law cases
Investigative journalism trends
Joseph M. Fernandez
8. INTERVIEW: Jo Chandler: Gender, human rights and power investigations in Papua New Guinea
Investigative journalism trends
Jo Chandler, Tom Morton


9. Journalism practice and critical reflexivity: A death in custody interview
Investigative journalism trends
Bonita Mason


10. Newspaper quality, content and competition in New Zealand
Matthew Gibbons
11. Mind the gap: Health reporting in the Pacific
Trevor Cullen
12. Content and source analysis of newspaper items about Māori issues: Silencing the ‘natives’ in Aotearoa?
Amanda Gregory, Angela Moewaka Barnes, Belinda Borell, Jenny Rankine, Raymond Nairn, Sue Abel, Tim McCreanor