By Jue Wang
Miles Moffeit, a veteran investigative reporter with The Dallas Morning News and a reporter for the Denver Post, has been working on investigating corruption within the criminal justice system for about nine years. He’s also a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting of “Trashing the Truth,” which was a series uncovered the “gray zone” and mistake of law enforcement agencies to DNA evidence and to uphold the justice for victims.
September 27, Miles Moffeit gave a Chamberlin Lecture named “Investigating the Corrupt While Protecting the Powerless” in Great Hall. At the beginning of the lecture, he emphasized the importance of empathy, which helped the investigative reporters to be aware of other’s feelings, attitudes and sorrows.
When he explained the things that investigative reporters must confront to endure, Moffeit stated he had experienced plenty of hardships that he encountered in the previous work, and he also used to be rebuffed by the city agency or the government.
“You might be shoved against the wall by a city manager who says, ‘You are ruining my legacy.’,” Moffeit mentioned. “You might even be warned to stay away by army commanders who don’t want you investigating their practices. It’s never about you; it’s always about the story. It’s about the people whose lives have been forever changed.”
During the lecture, Morreit presented lots of photos of the victims he once explored, which could give a chance to tell more people about those powerless people’s situations. Regarding the stories Moffeit shared, Echo Zhao, a student who attended the lecture said, “I was deeply impressed by the experiences of those victims, because it noticed me there were amounts of powerless people who were still suffering behind the power.”
Besides, Moffeit especially illustrated the principle of being an investigative reporter. “ A key principle in investigative reporting is what I call orbiting. To get to the truth, you build from the outer edges and you move in, talking to people until you get to the middle, where the people who made the bad decisions are, ” he said.
“Through his speech, it reminds me to pay more attentions on the people who are
under the repression and power in society,” Wee Yee, a student that attended the lecture said. “Journalists should not just focus on the hot topics, but we should use our journalist power to uncover the injustice things and help the powerless people get their rights back,” she said.