How Much is Investigative Journalism Worth?

What is the impact of investigative reporting? This question has been asked, and sometimes answered, with increasing frequency over the past three years by commercial media, non-profit media, media funders and audiences alike. Now in a new book, “Democracy’s Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism,” Stanford Professor James T. Hamilton applies economic theory to show that if we think about impact as return on investment, then investigative reporting — as expensive as it is — will generate social returns that far outweigh its initial costs.

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