ICYMI: CNN’s Brian Stelter: “Jeffrey Epstein's arrest shows the power of one newspaper's investigation”

WASHINGTON, DC — In a new piece for CNN Business, Brian Stelter zeroes in on the epicenter of the Jeffery Epstein case: the diligent coverage by the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown. This now national story highlights the necessity of local news to hold elected officials and power players to account. 

According to Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter for HuffPost, who was laid off in January, “Julie Brown’s dedication and work is emblematic of a larger lesson: local news is a vital tool to combat political corruption and nationalize regional issues with a global impact. But, that tool is at risk. Miami Herald’s parent company, McClatchy, bought out 400 staff earlier this year. This is why we need bipartisan congressional action to stop big tech from draining newspaper revenue and imperiling the journalism industry.” 

Stelter’s story is excerpted below and available online in full here.

In the past year the Jeffrey Epstein case was catapulted onto the national news radar by one newspaper, the Miami Herald, and by one reporter in particular, Julie K. Brown. The paper’s “Perversion of Justice” series came out last November, and Brown has stayed on the story ever since.

As soon as The Daily Beast broke the news that Epstein had been arrested on Saturday evening, fellow journalists and other observers credited Brown and thanked her for the tenacious investigation.

Law enforcement officials are also giving credit to the reporting. “We were assisted” by “some excellent investigative journalism,” Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a Monday morning press conference.

William Sweeney, the assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York office, added, “We work with facts. When the facts presented themselves, as Mr. Berman hinted at, through investigative journalists’ work, we moved on it.”

…Executives at the Herald and its parent company, McClatchy, have been pointing to the Epstein investigation as evidence about local journalism’s importance and vitality.

Aminda Marqués González, the Herald’s top editor, said in an email message, “Julie’s investigative series continues a tradition of award-winning journalism at the Herald that holds the powerful to account and demonstrates the phenomenal power of local journalism.”

….The Herald and Brown “took on immense risk in reporting this story,” Poynter Institute vice president Kelly McBride wrote on Twitter on Monday. “When journalists expose the wrong-doing of the rich/powerful, they invite a libel suit. Many rich/ powerful people would like to make it easier to win those cases, to discourage such reporting.”