Media organisations cannot rely on freelancers for investigative stories. They prefer staffers as this decreases the chances of law suits, said Ritu Sarin, the Executive Editor of The Indian Express.
The Media Rumble’s session on investigative journalism featured the Boston Globe’s Michael Rezendes, Delhi-based independent journalist Neha Dixit and Sarin, moderated by Madhu Trehan.
Dixit mentioned that there have been instances “when I filed the story, some organisation have refused to carry the story.” By virtue of being a freelancer ,these stories, however have published elsewhere.
Sarin said that there is tremendous pressure on journalists while reporting, “it’s good to insulate the reporter from pressure. The reporter doesn’t need to know about all phone calls and pressure.” This can unsettle the reporter. “I can say with pride that at The Indian Express, I have never been asked to kill a story” she declared.
Rezendes emphasised on the importance of accuracy and keeping secure, detailed notes. The best protection from libel, he said, is accurate reporting. He cited the Globe’s own spotlight team’s incredible stack of papers and date from their Pulitzer prize-winning story on the Catholic church’s sex abuse cover-up.