Slugger Awards (Media) Pitch: Investigative Journalism

A while ago, one of our politicians accused a journalist of being lazy. That may be true of some but certainly not all. A good investigative journalist will look warily behind the press releases of an organization or government and dig out what the whole or the true story is. He/she is our sharpest tool for peeling away the veneer to get to the truth and enabling that truth to be spoken to power. Her/his diligence should be recognized.


Slugger is  now looking for pitches from people to turn the best from our long list of ideas into an actual award category. So we’re asking you to email Mick ( with a suggested title for your category and a 100 word outline of what it means in practice.

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  • Granni Trixie

    Joe: you are absolutely right – the easy,lazy thing is to fillet pieces from press statements and other self generated docs etc . I think that we must accept however that the day to day requirements of newspaper production requires use to be made of them So I agree that having a category such as you suggest has metit.

    However exactly how does a Slugger panel judge where a journalist identified the necessity to dig behind press statements and consensus narratives which quickly gather around issues?

  • Mick Fealty

    “how does a Slugger panel judge where a journalist identified the necessity to dig behind press statements and consensus narratives which quickly gather around issues?”

    Good question Granni! Can we open that one to ‘the floor’?

  • Just trying to think of an example from the past year that could be described as ‘investigative’ beyond getting a few FOI and making a headline out of numbers.

    Awards generally are about making a difference, and in that respect for politicians, newspapers and public services that is not about doing what is expected but rather going beyond with innovation, imagination and even against the grain. No, can’t think of an example for any to fit that bill either.

  • Mark McGregor

    Thats where the nominations process comes in – you are relying on the readers to identify those that fit the criteria.

  • Granni Trixie

    Yes, I agree that in the first instance a list will emerge ‘naturally’. After that I can see that this category will take more time of a panel than others as some further digging required so that the panel are better informed in reaching decision. eg I mentioned “consensus narratives”- so it may mean outlining that narrative to show how a journalist through their investigations had changed this narrative.Come to think of it ..could be this category is all too difficult to include.

    However the NI water story is a most obvious example (Mick – do you rule yerself out?).

  • Mick Fealty

    Yes, absolutely ruled out. I think it would be useful to drill down into what we mean and what could practically rewarded.

    The truth is we know the MSM is losing capacity, but the more accurately and practically we can describe what this award is for the more likely it is to win through into the final line up.

    This year, the point is not to leave it entirely to the judgement of the, er, judges, but to use the process outlined at the beginning to winnow down what we mean when we announce the categories themselves.

  • Granni Trixie

    I suppose the job at this point is to help identify criteria by which category winners are to be judged.

    Surely ther answer for this category, is that anyone proposing someone is required to base it on specific(s) ie give evidence of why they are a deserving winner? This is different to the panel of judges deciding on the rationale but rather they are judging the evidence/rationale of the proposer. ???

  • joeCanuck

    I’m surprised that you can’t think of any stories that the press pursued vigorously. What about Iris’s shenanigans with her lover and with developers? What about Peter’s amazing land deal?
    If it weren’t for the fact that these are Mick’s awards he would surely deserve a nomination for his dogged pursuit (helped by a couple of commenters here) of the truth behind the NIW story.

  • joeCanuck

    And, to show that I’m not just picking on the DUP, who was it that uncovered the truth about G.Adam’s knowledge of what his brother was doing in SF, following the self-serving version put about by Mr.Adams?

  • Mick Fealty

    If we get the judging criteria clearly enough, it ought to make the judging process itself less complicated. In a way, if this process works well it should make the judging process itself more straightforward, with less judging of apples alongside oranges.

    I have another two proposals in the bag for Monday and Tuesday. In the meantime we’re permanently open to new suggestions.

  • Iris story was a whistle blower. The land deal was there for how long? Started digging once door was open (and that wasn’t something that was unknown about the place), bandwagon rather than fresh. Would give Suzanne Breen an award for solid journalism – don’t need to invent a category or award for that.

  • joeCanuck

    Can you define what solid journalism consists of? Write a pitch for Mick, perhaps?

  • joeCanuck

    It doesn’t matter what the original source was; it’s the investigation that counts.
    Simple example: Any apprentice reporter can report on a simple chip pan fire in a kitchen. She or he would hardly need to go beyond the first 4 Ws; who, what, where, and when. But if it’s a suspicious fire, say a suspected arson attack on a public building, investigation may be warranted by the press; an answer to the “Why?” question. Not every journalist is up to that.