Friday, 23 April 2010

The failures of investigative journalism

Very interesting event at the Southbank Centre last night, with Patrick Wright and Dan Jones from the theatre company Sound and Fury. It was great to do an event with Patrick Wright, whose book ‘A Journey Through Ruins: The Last Days of London’ is, I like to think, a precursor to ‘Ground Control’. Wright also collaborates with film maker Patrick Keiller who made the brilliant ‘London’ and its sequel ‘Robinson in Space’ and is, with Iain Sinclair, representative of a more political generation of writers and film makers who link politics and place with memory and identity.
Sound and Fury is a theatre company particularly interested in the sound space of theatre, which uses darkness to dramatic effect to highlight other senses. They are workshopping a play about surveillance for the National Theatre and currently touring ‘Kursk’, a play about the Russian nuclear submarine tragedy.
The discussion brought out how journalism has failed us in recent years, with the most interesting political work emerging either in non fiction or the theatre, with plays like ‘Enron’ and the ‘Power of Yes’ doing the work that investigative journalism fails to do. A big gripe of mine is that I tried to get half the stories in ‘Ground Control’ into newspapers I write for but editors weren’t interested, finding pieces ‘too negative’. Now, of course, that the book has been well-received there’s plenty of interest, but I think that response speaks volumes about the ongoing crisis in investigative journalism.

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