Pew Research Center tells us that 64% of U.S. adults say fabricated news stories cause confusion about the basic facts of issues and events. The confusion isn’t related to education, income or party affiliation, it runs across demographic lines. Equally troubling is the finding that 23% of people polled by Pew have shared fake news stories — and 14% said they knew the stories were fake when they hit the Send button.—S. Lynne Walker, Executive Director, InquireFirst
Facts Plus Heart
Usually we think of investigative journalism as reporting that exposes wrongdoing, maybe even puts someone in jail. But deep reporting—combined with deep thinking—sometimes leads to stories outside that box. A recent New York Times story about a Syrian refugee who is traveling throughout Germany, trying to put a human face on his fellow refugees by playing a donated piano, falls into that category. Yes, this is the tale of one man. But by also investigating the wide-ranging ramifications of Aeham Ahmad’s story, the Times’ Beirut bureau chief, Anne Barnard, illuminates the world’s growing refugee crisis, one most of us might prefer to ignore. – Susan White, Executive Editor, InquireFirst
John Oliver, Investigative Comic
Want to know what’s gone wrong with American journalism? John Oliver explains it all for you in his “Last Week Tonight” show on HBO. —Robert P. Laurence, InquireFirst.
Expanding the Box
A big part of investigative reporting is figuring out how the topics we’re examining fit into the broader world. This New York Times column by Farhad Majoo is must reading for everyone who believes, as I do, that offering readers this type of perspective is one of our greatest responsibilities. —Susan White, executive editor, InquireFirst
Are student loans worth the trouble?
Depends on whom you ask. The right loan can help students get through college. The wrong loan can lead to a lifetime of debt. But if you’re the guy dishing out the loans, you can get seriously rich. An investigation from Reveal, written by Lance Williams and investigative reporter James B. Steele, tells the cautionary tale in stark, compelling detail. You can read it, or listen to the podcast when you take your morning run.
—Robert P. Laurence, InquireFirst
Ever heard of Trump Ocean Resort?
The jewel of Baja California? Probably not, unless you invested money in it. The L.A. Times investigation, which didn’t get much national attention, found that 250 would-be buyers deposited some $32.5 million for condos in Donald Trump’s promised luxury resort. End result? Not a shovel of dirt ever turned, not a dollar refunded.—Robert P. Laurence