John Temple Contemplates the Future of Investigative journalism
John Temple is the former editor of the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver newspaper that ceased publication in 2009. Under his editorship, beginning in 1998, the paper won four Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other awards for journalistic excellence. He also held the titles of president and publisher.
Temple joined the Rocky in 1992 as metro editor. He was named managing editor in 1995. Before joining the paper, he was managing editor of The Albuquerque Tribune, another E.W. Scripps Co. newspaper. He has also worked at The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper.
Temple also served as VP/News for Scripps’ newspaper division since 2006. In that capacity, he acted as a sounding board for editors and publishers to help them explore and develop print and online initiatives. Temple has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto. He is married to artist Judith Cohn and has three children.
Question: Are you worried that we're losing the "fifth estate"?
Temple: Well, my concern about investigative journalism is I believe that the new technology, you know, the digital world makes investigative journalism so much better and it does let the public become involved. My concern would be is that if you look at something like The Washington Post, Walter Reed story, one of the reason that it had such impact was widespread distribution, everybody became aware of it and how… we need a method online and otherwise to bring to people’s attention stories that are important, I think the web is going to create that and we’ll see it emerge because I think one thing that’s too bad is just newspapers work in silos and they’re very isolated from each other and the truth is if I’m in Denver, why should I be able to share with my readers The Washington Post, Walter Reed? I should be again, this whole idea of moderator and curator, how do I help people find things that would make them better informed, better educated, entertained, inspired, and so I’m… in the short term, yes, I think it’s going to be very difficult for investigative reporting though we’re seeing non-profits like ProPublica but I’m actually… I’m a believer that over the long term, new forms of it will emerge and the only question I have is the great investigative reporting as often… it’s not agenda driven as much as it is sort of truth driven and sort of justice driven and you build a sense of trust, will… will some of these journalism be trustworthy or will it be so argumentative, so opinionated that you tend to discount the result of the investigative journalism ‘cause you don’t know that you can trust that the reporter is without agenda and dispassionate and I don’t know what’s going to happen there but as long as there’s no limits on how people can use the internet and how people can communicate, we’ll find a way, people… people make things happen.
John Temple Contemplates the Future of Investigative journalism.
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