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INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING I:Thalidomide Scandal, Watergate Scandal

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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
VU
LESSON 21
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING I
To investigate means to probe into any matter, to dig out facts which are tried to be kept hidden.
Investigative journalism is a kind of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a topic of interest,
often involving crime, political corruption, or some other scandal.
"There is no more important contribution that we can make to society than strong, publicly-
spirited investigative journalism."--------------------------Tony Barman, Editor-in-chief CBC News
Black like Me
In 1959, John Howard Griffin, a Caucasian (white person), changed the color of his skin and traveled in the
U.S.'s Deep South as an African-American, got the first hand knowledge of the problems of negroes and
later wrote a series of articles for Sepia magazine.
Thalidomide Scandal
Thalidomide is a sedative, hypnotic, and anti-inflammatory medication. It was sold from 1957 to 1961 in
almost fifty countries under at least forty names, including Distaval, Talimol, Nibrol, Sedimide, Quietoplex,
Contergan, Neurosedyn, and Softenon. Thalidomide was chiefly sold and prescribed during the late 1950s
and 1960s to pregnant women, as an antiemetic to combat morning sickness and as an aid to help them
sleep. Unfortunately, inadequate tests were performed to assess the drug's safety, with catastrophic results
for the children of women who had taken thalidomide during their pregnancies.
From 1956 to 1962, approximately 10,000 children were born with severe malformities because their
mothers had taken thalidomide during pregnancy.
Unusual side effects had been reported by patients taking thalidomide in the UK, including peripheral
neuropathy. Worse, pregnant women who had taken the drug were giving birth to babies with a condition
called phocomelia ­ abnormally short limbs with toes sprouting from the hips and flipper-like arms. Other
infants had eye and ear defects or malformed internal organs such as un-segmented small or large intestines.
The company denied that thalidomide was responsible for any of these problems.
Investigative Reporting Of the Medicine
On November 18, 1961 the German paper Welt am Sonntag published a letter by German pediatrician
Widukind Lenz. Lenz described more than 150 infants with malformations, and associated them with
Thalidomide given to their mothers.
In December, The Lancet published a letter by William McBride, an Australian physician, who noted large
numbers of birth defects in the children of women who had taken thalidomide. Other countries quickly
pulled the drug from their stores and pharmacies. However, the pharmaceutical company continued to
dispute the claims that Thalidomide was responsible for the defects, saying that their action was "merely a
response to the sensationalism."
Finally, the 'Insight' team of The Sunday Times got into the affair of investigation and probed into many
doctors, patients and the company's pharmacists. They got the samples of the disputed medicine examined
from the laboratories and proved that the responsible factor for the birth of deformed children is nothing
else than Thalidomide.
The 'Insight' team of The Sunday Times achieved great renown in the 1960s for its exposure of public health
scandals, most notably Thalidomide.
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Radio News, Reporting and Production ­ MCM515
VU
Watergate Scandal
The term "Watergate" refers to a series of events, spanning from 1972 to 1975, that got its name from
burglaries of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel Complex in
Washington, D.C. Though then President Nixon had endured two years of mounting political
embarrassments. In August 1974 the scandal brought with it the prospect of certain impeachment for
Nixon, and he resigned only four days later on August 9. He is the only U.S. president to have resigned
from the office.
Background of the Scandal
On June 17, 1972, Frank Wills, a security guard working at the office building of the Watergate complex of
office space, residential buildings and a hotel, noticed a piece of tape on the door between the basement
stairwell and the parking garage. It was holding the door unlocked, so Wills removed it, assuming the
cleaning crew had put it there. Later, he returned and discovered that the tape had been replaced.
Suspicious, Wills then contacted the D.C. police. By coincidence, an unmarked police car was the first to
arrive on the scene, so the lookout didn't alarm the burglary team. There was also confusion within the team
over who had taped what doors, so it couldn't be concluded that someone else had removed the tape.
After the police came, five men -- Bernard Barker, Virgilio González, Eugenio Martínez, James W.
McCord, Jr. and Frank Sturgis were discovered and arrested for breaking into the headquarters of the
Democratic National Committee. The men supposedly had broken into the same office three weeks earlier
as well, and had returned intending to fix wiretaps that were not working and, according to some, to
photograph documents.
The need to break into the office for a second time was just the highlight of a number of mistakes made by
the burglars.
Hunt had previously worked for the White House, while McCord was officially employed as Chief of
Security at the Committee to Re-elect the President CRP. This quickly suggested that there was a link
between the burglars and someone close to the President. However, Nixon's press secretary Ron Ziegler
dismissed the affair as a "third-rate burglary". Though the burglary occurred at a sensitive time, with a
looming presidential campaign, most Americans initially believed that no President with Nixon's advantage
in the polls would be so foolhardy or unethical as to risk association with such an affair.
As a matter of fact the scandal was investigated and denuded by two investigative reporters Bob Woodward
and Carl Bernstein who worked for The Washington Post and finally their investigation led to the resignation
of U.S. President Richard Nixon.
Woodward had an informer whose code name was "Deep Throat". The True identity of the informer was
kept secret. The Deep Throat informed that White House Officials had hired 50 agents to sabotage
the Democrats' chances of victory in the 1972 Election. The grand jury also secretly named Nixon
as a co-conspirator.
"Deep Throat" unmasked himself on May 31, 2005: he was actually W. Mark Felt, the No. 2 official at the
FBI in the early 1970s. Later it was confirmed by Woodward as well.
Qualities of a Good Investigative Reporter
Besides those which are prerequisites for a person who aspires to be a journalist, the following qualities
must also be an integral part of his/her personality:
1)
Sharpness
2)
Intelligence
3)
Nosy
4)
Inquisitiveness
5)
Familiarity with the area of his investigation
6)
Well versed in law
7)
Tricky interviewer
8)
Strong contacts
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Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT RADIO IS:HISTORY OF RADIO, MARCONI –THE INVENTOR
  2. HISTORY OF RADIO:B.B.C. – 1922, Radio in Sub-Continent, PBC SERVICES
  3. OBJECTIVES OF BROADCASTING IN PAKISTAN:Information, Islamic ideology
  4. NEWS VALUES I:CONFLICT, PROGRESS, VICTORY AND DEFEAT
  5. NEWS VALUES II:TIMELINESS, PROXIMITY, NOVELTY, HUMAN INTEREST
  6. NEWS VALUES AND ELEMENTS OF NEWS:MISCELLANEOUS NEWS VALUES
  7. MEASURING THE IMPORTANCE OF NEWS:Intensity of an Event, NEWS STORY TYPES
  8. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES II:SIMPLE TYPES, ILLNESS, DEATH
  9. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES III:Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking, Lunar Months
  10. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES IV:COMPLEX NEWS, Forms of Government, Monarchy
  11. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES V:Education, Research, Religion
  12. TYPES OF NEWS STORIES VI:Lifestyles, Receptions, Entertainment
  13. SOURCES OF NEWS I:Network of Reporters, QUALITIES OF A REPORTER
  14. SOURCES OF NEWS II:MONITORING, NEWS/ PRESS RELEASE
  15. SOURCES OF NEWS III:National News Agencies, HARD NEWS, SOFT NEWS
  16. REPORTING:ORDER OF REPORTING, REPORTER’S QUALITIES, Well informed
  17. A SUCCESSFUL RADIO REPORTER:Briefing, Reporter’s Ammunition, Meeting Deadline
  18. INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING I:Growth of Interpretative Reporting
  19. INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING II:Factual Background, SPEECH STORY
  20. INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING III:FIRES & ACCIDENTS, CRIME STORIES
  21. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING I:Thalidomide Scandal, Watergate Scandal
  22. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING II:Identification of the problem, INTERVIEW
  23. TYPES OF INTERVIEW:Hard News Interview, Informational Interview
  24. ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD INTERVIEW I:Comments and Opinion, Topic must be specific
  25. ESSENTIALS OF A GOOD INTERVIEW II:Preparation of the Interview, Language
  26. RADIO NEWS GLOSSARY:Actuality, Cut, Voicer, Wrap, Hourly, Lead
  27. FUNDAMENTALS OF NEWS WRITING:Inverted Pyramided Style, Telling the Story
  28. FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING NEWS FOR RADIO I:Language
  29. FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING NEWS FOR RADIO II:Complex numbers
  30. ESSENTIALS OF A NEWSCASTER:Authority, Credibility, Language, Pronunciation
  31. PRODUCTION AND PLANNING:Principals of Planning a Program
  32. PRODUCER & BUDGETING:Strengths of a Radio Program, Budgeting a Program
  33. JARGONS OF PRODUCTION (Continued):Frequency spectrum, Dead studio
  34. TYPES OF TALK:Qualification of a Talker, Essentials of a talk, Vetting a talk
  35. DISCUSSION:Controlled Discussion, Live Discussion, Current affairs
  36. DISCUSSION:Selection of the TopicKnowledge of the Topic, Narrowing down the topic
  37. RADIO FEATURE:Sound Effects, Narration, Dramatic Feature, Religion, Personalities
  38. RADIO DOCUMENTARY:Commentary, History, Persons, Things, Phenomena
  39. DRAMA:Solo plays, Series, Serial, Soap, Components of Drama
  40. SPECIAL AUDIENCE PROGRAM:Children’s Programs, Women’s programs
  41. SPORTS PROGRAM:Live Programs, Recorded Programs, Preparation of OB
  42. THE MUSIC I:Folk Music, Classical Music, Light Music, Pop Music
  43. THE MUSIC II:Classification of Raga In Terms Of Notes, Aado, Khaado
  44. ETHICS & LIMITATIONS OF MEDIA:Domain of Freedom of Media, Defamation
  45. RECAP:What Radio Is, Timeliness, Elements of news, Types of Reporting, Production