4 theses to the relationship between whistleblowers and media

I will give a speech and take part in a pannel discussion at IAM in Winterthur on thursday, 5th of february 2015 (together with Oliver Zihlmann, Sonntagszeitung; Christian Hauser, HTW Chur; Urs Dahinden, HTW Chur.) Topic: What ist the current practice of whistleblowing in Swiss media? Here my 4 theses. Interested in your answers!

Thesis 1: Whistleblowers are the main source of investigative journalism. But…

Thesis 2: They often do not initiate the stories, but enforce them. So the stories often gain their critical power only through whistleblowers – the power to really change things.

That’s the classic development of an investigativ story: A journalist presumes a serious deficit in a certain field of public or private activity. He starts his inquiries through open sources and freedom of information act and other sources, then publishes a first text. This text attracts Whistleblowers if it points to a really existing deficency.

With the specific informations of the whistleblower the journalist can write a second, third and more texts which really frame the deficency and name the responsible. So the pressure is high enough to change structures and staff.

That’s how many of the big stories oft he last months worked: The corruption-in-the-seco-case, the case of the offshore accounts oft he Ammann-Group, even the story of the Zentrale Ausgleichskasse in Geneva started without whistleblowers on a first level. And even the story about the deficiency in the Social Departement of zurich ...

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