Investigative journalism and the watchdog role of news media: Between acute challenges and exceptional counterbalances

Achilleas Karadimitriou, Torbjörn von Krogh, Christian Ruggiero, Cecilia Biancalana, Mauro Bomba, Wai Han Lo

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter investigates to what extent leading news media advocate investigative journalism and perform appropriately their watchdog function, assuming that in various media markets these core journalistic practices are currently adapting to an austere (compared with the past) media ecosystem, as well as to a differentiated newsroom role against a background of digital revolution in the media field. By means of digital tools, journalistic investigation has been facilitated to a great extent. However, the acute crises afflicting the media industries have operated as a severe deterrent to costly investigative journalism. Given the prevalent financial constraints in media markets, testified to by journalists in most countries participating in the 2021 Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM), investigative reporting seems to have become a luxury process, despite it being a journalistic bulwark against fake news narratives and unethical standards in media organisations. We conclude the chapter with a discussion of the existence of investigative reporting being proportional to the financial strength that characterises the media organisations at the national level, and that targeted public subsidies, where applicable, seem to have proved effective during times of economic recession.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSuccess and Failure in News Media Performance
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Analysis in The Media for Democracy Monitor 2021
EditorsJosef Trappel, Tales Tomaz
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789188855589
ISBN (Print)9789188855572
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

User-Defined Keywords

  • investigative journalism
  • newsroom watchdog role
  • in-depth reporting
  • power control
  • fourth estate


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