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28th September 2011, 1:17pm
Investigative reporting and coverage of ‘Arab Spring’ in journalism prof’s latest books
Professor Richard Keeble Investigative journalism and the media coverage of the “Arab Spring” are the subjects of the latest books edited by Professor Richard Lance Keeble, of the Lincoln School of Journalism (LSJ).

Both books, jointly edited with John Mair, followed conferences organised by the journalism department at Coventry University, the LSJ and the BBC College of Journalism.

Investigative Journalism: Dead or Alive? (Arima, Bury St Edmunds) includes contributions from top international journalists such as Sir Harold Evans, former editor of The Sunday Times, Donal McIntyre, award-winning investigative reporter, Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, and Phillip Knightley, Visiting Professor at the LSJ.

Chapters explore the state of investigative journalism in Pakistan, China, Guinea-Bissau and the United States. And academics from Brunel University, the University of Westminster, Nuffield College, Oxford, City University and Leeds University contribute theoretical analyses.

In addition, three graduates of the new BA in investigative journalism at Lincoln University, Tom Farmery, Shane Croucher and Sean McGrath, who gave an extremely well-received presentation at the Coventry conference in March 2011, contribute highly original chapters – on the ethical issues involved in using Facebook as a research tool, crowdsourcing (the use of new, web-based social media for investigative purposes) and data journalism.

Barnie Choudhury, Principal Lecturer in Journalism at the LSJ, contributes a chapter “Bent cops, honour killings and no-go zones” while Professor John Tulloch, head of the LSJ, in a particularly original piece, argues that it is the literary journalist who takes on the ultimate challenge of investigative journalism – grappling with issues of causation and evil.

Mirage in the Desert: Reporting the “Arab Spring” (Arima, also jointly edited with John Mair) carries exclusive dispatches from frontline reporters such as Alex Crawford (who scooped the world’s media covering the advance of rebel forces into Tripoli before the collapse of Col. Gaddafi’s regime), Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent of Sky News, Lindsey Hilsum, of Channel Four News, and Wyre Davies, BBC Middle East Correspondent.

Sections examine the role of Twitter, women on the media frontlines and in the “Arab Spring”, Al Jazeera’s coverage and the long-term effects of the uprising. In a section examining the representation of Col. Gaddafi, Prof Keeble contributes a chapter examining the 40-year history of Western attempts to assassinate the now-deposed Libyan leader.

Professor Tim Luckhurst, of Kent University, comments in an “Afterword”: “This book is the latest in a pioneering and brilliantly successful series that has taken huge steps to connect and stimulate readers within and beyond the academy with practitioners in journalism. By beating the lethargic publishing schedules that so often restrict academia’s ability to achieve impact it narrows the gulf between journalism theory and journalism practice. By abandoning the idle pretence that excellence and speed are incompatible with rigour it allows academic talent to engage actively with the world.”

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