Reuters gets more investigative

A year after its foray into investigative journalism, Reuters is stepping up its investigative reporting efforts, which have resulted in the news organization’s best-read stories. It’s also gotten them plenty of positive attention.

Editors Weblog reports:

“According to the agency’s online news editor, Keith McCallister, reader’s have been “eating [investigative journalism stories] up.” McCallister stated that the investigative stories are read more frequently than any of the agency’s other articles by a factor of 10.”

Some examples of Reuters’ investigative stories are an international probe into the Sands Macau casino, and an expose about an insurance company dropping HIV-positive patients.

Last fall Reuters hired former New York Times editor Jim Impoco as its first enterprise editor, along with several investigative journalists.

The rise (and success) of non-profit investigative organizations like ProPublica has generated a lot of speculation about the future of investigative journalism, which has become practically non-existent in most newsrooms, especially in Canada.

A Business Insider reporter interviewed Impoco:

“Impoco told us the company is in the process of bringing on two additional enterprise editors, one based in London and one in Singapore.”

“It will make the entire project more efficient,” he said.
Impoco said that previously, most stories maxed out at 700 words, whereas he’s been regularly overseeing pieces between 3,000 and 7,000 words. A 7,000-word article by Nick Carey in December was “the longest piece in the history of Reuters,” he said.

“Investigative pieces are massively expensive and time-consuming. (Impoco declined to give numbers but said Reuters editor in chief David Schlesinger “hasn’t blinked” when signing off on any of them.) And Impoco doesn’t have a designated investigative team.

“But, “The reason it’s going so swimmingly is because we’ve got lots of boots on the ground,” 2800 reporters in over 200 bureaus, he said.”

“Including boots from other news organizations: The Sands Macau investigation was produced in conjunction with PBS producer and Berkeley j-school professor Lowell Bergman’s Investigative Reporting Program.
Impoco said several more such collaborations are in the works—a second with Bergman and one with The Huffington Post’s Investigative Fund.”