The Washington Post has a spectacularly fun profile about Andrew Ferguson, the (in their words" curmudgeonly old reporter" who investigated and exposed FIFA corruption long before the arrests and resignations of Sepp Blatter and his cronies.
The profile is a treasure trove of awesome quotes from Ferguson, a legendary investigative journalist.
My phone started ringing at six in the morning ... I turned it off actually to get some more sleep because whatever is happening at six in the morning is still going to be there at lunch time, isn’t it
And the money quote that is making the rounds:
This journalism business is easy, you know. You just find some disgraceful, disgustingly corrupt people and you work on it! You have to. That’s what we do. The rest of the media gets far too cozy with them. It’s wrong. Your mother told you what was wrong. You know what’s wrong. Our job is to investigate, acquire evidence.
This is a core issue facing all journalists, whethey they are covering the administration in Washington or their local sports team. It's more pronounced in sports journalism because A.) "Serious" journalists never miss a chance to point out when it happens to sports, as if it never happens to on cityside, and B.) Because of the historical nature of sports journalism.
Sports journalism, as Robert McChesney, James Michenener and other researchers and writers have noted, has long had a cozy, symbiotic relationship with its sources. It goes back to the days when sports reporters had their travel paid for by the team. Sports journalism began in large part because it was popular content that was ideologcially safe. Republicans and Democrats, Progressives and Capitalisists, could come together to cheer on their local baseball teams. Although sports journalism has become far more independent over the years, these are still the historical roots of the profession.
Also, investigative journalism is hard. It takes a long time, and we're in an era in which success in news is often measured by speed. It takes a reporter who doesn't mind antagonizing sources and readers, at a time when sources and readers have a lot more access to each other and power within the media world. It takes a reporter who doesn't mind doing work that might not get liked and shared because it makes people mad. It takes a reporter who has the discipline and strength to not get attached to sources.
Ferguson's wrong about one thing. It's not easy. The kind of work he does, the kind of journalism he's able to do is not easy.
That's what makes it great.