Jul 9, 2009

The I Team

Imagine an elite team of investigative journalists sitting poolside (or maybe in front of the Wii), waiting for the red phone to vibrate, whereupon they'd spring into action, jumping into their faded blue 1993 Honda Civic full of food wrappers and Thomas guides and sputter off to the latest hot spot of corruption, disaster or injustice.

That's sort of the idea behind the "mobile strike force" recently discussed at the first conference of the Nonprofit Investigative News Network. It's also been called "swarm journalism." Lois Beckett at the Nieman Lab spoke with the founder of the Center for Public Integrity about the concept:
“The idea of swarm coverage using investigative reporters is a novel concept. We think of most investigative reporting as sort of project oriented, many months, painstaking culling of information.” Of the “mobile strike force” idea, [Chuck] Lewis said, “I think there would be great excitement, not only from the member organizations. I think the public would appreciate it deeply and I think there would be funding that would materialize.”
Intriguing, although Beckett's Rambo analogy doesn't seem quite right. Rambo definitely was not a team player.

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