chapter  2
Exposé: investigations, undercover and the so-jo
Pages 17

T he linear arrangements of a chapter can make for arbitrary distinctions that do notadequately reflect the complexity of life, and it is abundantly clear that some reportersfeatured in the previous chapter – Murrow, Pilger, Taylor, etc. – are investigative journalists par excellence. But they ply their craft in the field of mainstream current affairs, alongside which has grown, on the one hand, a specialist field of investigative journalism and, on the other, a field of television that started in the UK in the 1980s with a large reporter called Roger Cook, who specialised in doorstepping crooks, literally putting his foot inside their doors, frequently suffering abrasions and even bone fractures as a result.1 The growing demand for investigations and exposés is part of television’s wider search for sensation and excitement to keep audiences from slipping away. Most US stations now have a unit dedicated to investigations of one kind or another, frequently investigating consumer concerns close to home, such as Los Angeles NBC affiliate Channel 4’s Investigative Reports featuring shows like Contaminated: Restaurant Food Investigation , where ‘award-winning Joel Grover goes undercover and exposes dangerous problems with food that ends up in popular SoCal restaurants’.2 January 2007 saw the launch of CNN: Special Investigations Unit , a new longform investigative series, airing Saturdays and Sundays at 8 pm Eastern Time, that features CNN’s top correspondents delivering in-depth reports on pressing issues currently in the news’.3 More of what current (in America, public) affairs does routinely, you might think, but given that extra filip with the buzz-word ‘investigation’.