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Why I Do Investigative Journalism

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America’s Disturbing Underbelly Resurfaces

While I had stopped writing hard news, especially investigative pieces, for several years, that changed because of some recent world and personal life events.

Those include Brexit and the global ‘populist’ movement. But, as an American whose father fought in the civil rights movement and who was part of Boston’s busing crisis and subsequent integration activities in the city’s neighborhoods and schools, I’ve been shaken by the attempts to return America to the era before those movements.

For me, the recent US presidential election outcome and my understanding that this government’s policies place many who have been marginalized at significant risk of loss of liberty and life. That has solidified my resolve to return to actively being a voice for those who don’t have one or whose voices are limited.

Additionally, some personal challenges related to having written my award-winning expose, including attempts to silence me as an investigative and hard news journalism, have caused me to decide to return to writing hard news and investigative pieces. 

It doesn’t suit my personality remain silent when I know I can use my gifts as an activist and journalist to challenge the current state of affairs and address what lead to them by telling stories that achieve both. I feel blessed to be writing what I love for some of the best names in media and industry.

Telling the stories of the otherwise silenced is the way I can give back for what I’ve received. Instead of leaving the task of opposing malfeasance and injustice to other journalists, I’ve committed to joining them in this movement. More than that, I’m committed to helping preserve a free press in America.

Staying Silent is Not My Nature

It would be quite simple for me to do only the corporate content writing I do. It’s fun, interesting and I work with great clients and outstanding editors. Now that I’ve built the business, I have numerous lucrative opportunities. I could stay quiet, give donations to activist causes, not say anything controversial and certainly not tell stories that might offend some people. But I wouldn’t sleep well at night.

I have seen and still see too many things that hurt those who don’t have my background, ability, capacity or resources to fight them. Many don’t have a voice or know how to use what they have so won’t get heard. I have a unique skill set and intellectual ability to share narratives that articulate the pain caused by the grime harmful individuals (or groups of them) sling into other people lives.

I believe that it’s a gift to be positioned to write for top corporations that mean only good to their audiences and to work with the people who make great, pleasing, helpful communications possible. But, because I also have a hard news and investigative journalism background, I also have an obligation to use it to help right wrongs that either I experience that also harm others or that other experience and have no advocate to tell their story.

This work is my way of thanking God for the rest of what He has blessed me to do.

This Is Risky But Important Work

I’ve long believed life shouldn’t be a zero-sum game where those with more resources or connections, especially the rich and powerful elites, win the rest of us lose. They are just other people who share the only race on the planet that matters—the human race. They should not be allowed to destroy the well-being of their fellow travelers in the human experience for their own benefit.

Make no mistake that regardless of what we have been taught to believe about systems of power, those at the very top, those we can’t see, are comprised of every “race” on the planet. Their systems of power are structured to divide and conquer the rest of us.

But there are people at all levels of affluence and influence who will, given the opportunity, cause harm to others with no compunction. That includes people from local business and property owners to employees of national corporations and federal government agencies. Nearly all benefit from the money we pay in taxes or goods and services, without which they could not exist. They are beholden to us and should not be allowed to harm us with impunity.

Regardless of their level of society, most want to operate in the dark, with impunity and expect their targets not to mount a successful defense against them. In many cases when we attempt to fight back, legal and social structures created and implemented by others in a variety of roles, from law enforcement and courts to governments and corporations at all levels, support them.

The only way to defeat them is to expose them because we can’t fight what we can’t see. Investigative journalists and hard news reporters work vigilantly and at great personal risk expose those people hiding in dark places, including the behind the systems that support them, wreaking havoc on the rest of us.

True Liberty Requires a Free Press 

We investigative journalists and hard news reporters don’t consider ourselves heroes. We believe that, particularly in a constitutional republic where all citizens have certain inalienable rights, including those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this is our role.

The fact that, in modern American experience all people except white males had to fight for those rights is irrelevant. We have won them and now we have the right and obligation to retain them and participate equally to gain parity in our society.

Then, we can commit to helping others globally and do it the right way, not to gain more power we neither need or deserve. A free press makes that possible and we must fight the minority forces attempting to rob the majority of people of those inalienable human rights given to us by the Creator of us all and the universe we share.

Recognizing that these words are sentimental to those who stand to lose the most by our fighting to regain and retain the right to a free press does not change my (re)commitment to telling stories and writing opinion pieces that reveal hard truth.

I’m no martyr and this isn’t a burden I have to bear. I’m grateful that God trusts me to do this work to honor Him and help His creation that He so loves.

(c) 2017. New Fourth Estate Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Image: Unsplash–Evan Dennis

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