In what has got to be one of the most remarkable journalistic achievements in recent memory, The Seattle Times’ investigation into business practices at Swedish Health has resulted in the resignation of both the Swedish CEO and the chair of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in the scant three weeks since the story broke!
No need to further summarize the story when you can go to seattletimes.com and click on Local News in the nav bar to read all the details. The purpose here is to share comments from knowledgable local pros about this stunning development—in this age of alleged “fake news” and attacks on the media.
Seattle Times publisher and a recent MARKETING IMMORTALS inductee, Frank Blethen, shared this perspective: “In his recent book, Democracy’s Detectives/The Economics of Investigative Journalism, Stanford Professor James T. Hamilton reported on his study of journalism awards from 1918 to 2013. He concluded that The Seattle Times was the 5th best investigative newspaper in the country over that period [behind only the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times and Philadelphia Inquirer]. He also concluded that investigative journalism is expensive and ownership matters. And he pointed out that, of the top five newspapers, The Seattle Times is the only one left that is both local and private. [of course, the Washington Post is once again private. thanks to our fellow Seattleite, Jeff Bezos]. Journalism public serve is in our family’s DNA. Our 4th and 5th generations of family stewards have embraced Investigative journalism with a passion. We only wish we had the resources do more. The rise of newspaper and media consolidation has had many negative consequences, one of them is the decline of investigative reporting, especially on the regional and local level. We’re proud Seattle is an exception.”
Cheri Brennan, a veteran PR professional and also a recent IMMORTALS inductee, said: “This report offers textbook examples of the role of investigative journalism and the importance of internal communications. In an era of shrinking newsrooms, the Seattle Times is to be commended for retaining a team of investigative journalists who strive to surface wrongdoing and hold institutions and individuals accountable. Although to some it might be viewed as a slow response, I believe the interim CEO at Swedish deserves some props for emphasizing its commitment to patient safety and for publicly assuring the employees their voices are vital.”
Retired ad exec Rick Stanton, a frequent contributor to The Times Letters to the Editor—in both the news and sports sections—said: “At a time when responsible journalism has never been more important, the Seattle Times’ ability to identify and relentlessly pursue the Swedish Neuroscience Institute story is a critical example of this need. Anyone who thinks that western medicine is about anything other than profits, especially pharmaceutical companies, is a fool. But when you add in incompetence that compromises the hippocratic oath to boost those profits, that takes greed to another level. From the Times’ investigation, Dr. Johnny Delashaw probably probably should face more than resignation. Lastly, is there a reporter at The Times who has the assignment to go after Trump’s taxes?”
PR veteran Pete DeLaunay wrote: “The Times’ investigation likely came from a ‘tip’ that evolved into a reality. Investigative reporters pursued it with vigor as (their efforts) disclosed debilitating and costly medical outcomes— from hastily done, sometimes unnecessary, procedures, and retribution against colleagues who questioned. The decline of investigative journalism has come from an increasingly fragmented media landscape. As the Seattle Times promotes subscriptions, I’ve suggested the Times also promote the value of encouraging subscribers to support their advertisers.”
And Mimi Kirsch, principal of Paradigm Communications Group and long-time member of the IMMORTALS pantheon, said: “Kudos to the Seattle Times team on their powerful investigation into the physicians and practices at the neuroscience institute at Swedish Cherry Hill. I absolutely agree that it’s a remarkable testimony to a strong free press. Every day we see the value and the necessity for strong reporting. Even George W. said recently that a strong, free press is ‘indispensable to Democracy.’ And good investigative reporting is indispensable to our community.”
Your comments are welcomed below.