THE April meeting of the Costa Press Club featured an interesting round table talk about investigative journalism, entitled “Is investigative journalism a dying dinosaur?”
At a time when anyone with a smartphone can instantly publish their version of “news” to the world, what is the future for professionals trained to sift information and contrast sources?
This was the topic discussed by local journalists Agustín Rivero, Malaga correspondent for El Confidencial, Damián Ruíz Fájula, freelance journalist (former correspondent for El Mundo) and Mats Björkman, chief editor of Sydkusten, in a discussion led by the Costa Press Club President, Jesper Sander Pedersen.
The panellists agreed that professional investigative journalism is essential and must be fostered, to avoid political censorship or the pressure of big businesses. Agustín Rivera also underlined the obligation of professionals to avoid falling into the trap of merely reporting the contents of a press release or quoting politicians. “We must always dig a bit deeper” he said.
Mats Björkman spoke of the recent trend in Spain towards more independent media, funded by subscribers or systems like crowdfunding rather than advertising. Dutch journalist Elsa Beckman also spoke from the floor about the danger of public opinion being polarized by uncontrasted opinions and “reports” on social media.
The consensus was that there will always be a role for the professional media as an impartial watchdog, and to ensure the accountability of decision-makers.
The event, which was hosted by the Foreigners’ Department at Mijas Town Hall in La Cala, was followed by dinner at the Restaurante El Torreón.