Investigative journalism recently got a double dose of adrenalin with the launching of two new digital initiatives from noted editors and reporters.
Appearing on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy” Now on Monday, Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald spelled out their intentions of their newly formed digital magazine The Intercept.
“We’re really about a journalistic ethos,” said Greenwald, who gained international attention from his articles in the Guardian on Edward Snowden’s disclosures on the National Security Agency, “which is not doing things like helping the United states government continue its targeting of U.S. citizens for death, like AP just did by withholding information allowing it to continue, but by being adversarial to the government and telling the public what it ought to know, and targeting the most powerful corporate and political factions with accountability journalism.”
Scahill, who began his journalistic career with “Democracy Now” and currently an Academy Award nominee with his documentary “Dirty Wars,” expanded on his colleague’s comments, noting that “There is this attempt on the part of the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to imply that the journalists who are reporting on the Snowden documents are accomplices to a crime. My understanding, from a confidential source in the intelligence community, is that Clapper, two weeks before he publicly used that term of accomplice, that he also said that in a top-secret classified briefing within the intelligence community, sort of floating it. You know, Mike Rogers [R-Rep, Mich.] also has just been on a rampage against journalists, also against Snowden, making totally unfounded allegations about Snowden being somehow a Russian agent or cooperating with Russian agents.”
The Intercept will be published by First Look Media, a venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and with Scahill and Greenwald at the controls it promises to deliver the kind of stories that are often ignored or swept aside by the mainstream media.
A similar effort is underway by The Marshall Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that will focus on the American criminal justice system. Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times, is aboard as the chief editor. “It’s a chance to build something from scratch, which I’ve never done before,” said Keller, who leaves the Times in March for the new assignment. “And to use the tools that digital technology offers journalists in terms of ways to investigate and to present on a subject that really matters personally.”
The Marshall Project was formed last year by Neil Barsky, a money manager who worked at the Wall Street Journal. “Since the day I was born,” said Barsky, “I have been aware that the criminal justice system in American is bizarrely horrible and weirdly tolerated. The main reason is that it’s been that way for such a long duration that we don’t challenge it anymore.”
The arrival of The Intercept and The Marshall Project will provide a twin assault on international affairs, particularly the rampant violation of human rights, and the domestic issues as they pertain to the abuses of our criminal justice system.
It’s been a while since the realm of investigative journalism has received such a promising boost, and we watch them with great hope and anticipation.