Where Are They Now?
Where are the investigative journalists?
To start the day with a wild, irrational thought — in the natural world, we worry about the disappearance of the bees. In the human world, we no longer seem to have investigative journalists.
Yes, I know that you can get jobs in investigative journalism now, and even take degrees, but where were the wild-eyed youngsters searching for tunnels in the basements of hospitals in Gaza? When the story was live, I mean, and before the release of that official clip of a hole in the ground?
Why am I always seeing the same correspondents in their bulletproof vests, with their mournful voices, telling me the same stories on the quarter-hour from the car parks where they’re based? Why not frontline reports from definitely-not-embedded independent investigators making their own enquiries?
Yes, I know about Bellingcat, and yes, I know that a missile would land on the head of anybody foolish enough to connect from a frontline position, but — not even a notebook? Not even a film camera?
I was scrolling down through Time’s online collection of Vietnam War photographs — some less familiar to me — when I came to this comment by the photographer David Burnett.
“In the days before ‘embeds’ — this generation’s enforced melding of photographer and military unit — there was a certain sense of freedom we owned as photographers, being able to go directly to where the story was. In Vietnam in the early 1970s, the only real limitation was finding a ride.”
Maybe Uber doesn’t do war zones.
But I still have that uneasy feeling that I sometimes get in my garden. Can’t put my finger on it exactly, but — something’s missing.