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WHY MEN LIEIN CONVERSATION WITHLINDEN MACINTYRE44

COLLECTIONS: How would you describe the current state ofjournalism in Canada?Linden MacIntyre: I think that there are a lot of avid and eagerjournalists, but a couple things have diminished. One is the traditionalstorytelling instinct that was part and parcel of most cultures up untilmore modern times. People were once valued for their ability to takeordinary quotidian events, and shape them into stories that revealed alot about a community; delivering news, knowledge and tradition.That's kind of gone by the wayside, having been replaced by moretechnological and more modern forms of communication. People growup now as consumers of entertainment and information delivered bystrangers from places they have a hard time connecting to.C: Are we witnessing the end of investigative journalism?LM: Well, it's in deep trouble. Proprietors are struggling to keep thebottom line in the black and they're looking for ways to spend moneywith the greatest impact. The Toronto Star has decided that there'senormous impact from investigative journalism. Others are saying theycan get equal value from other things. When that starts to happen, youlose the intake of people who are good at it. Those people becomeother things. I've seen two of the best investigative journalists that I'veworked with give up and go to law school.C: How does the newsroom at the CBC differ from more traditional for-profit media outlets?LM: The CBC's a public broadcast but it's a hybrid. It still has to earnmoney in the market like other media. But I believe that we have twoproblems. We have an existential problem, which is that there's anideological scepticism for the need for public broadcasting. Thatideology is sceptical of a lot of public services, and I see the CBC asa public service. The Brits call it Public Service Broadcasting. We callit Public Broadcasting. I wish we'd call it Public Service Broadcastingbecause it is a public service. We should be able to do stuff in ournewsroom, information programming in particular, that others in themarket-driven media can't do because it's too expensive.Unfortunately, being a hybrid, we are vastly underfunded, so we arereliant on the marketplace and on the goodwill of a bunch ofpoliticians who are conservative and who don't see our value. The onlyway they tolerate us is if they get the message from their constituents.So we have to draw a lot of constituents to our programming. We alsohave to satisfy advertisers. That causes us to pander a bit; to tailor theproduct. People nowadays have an unlimited appetite for sex andviolence. They love goofiness. So an awful lot of journalism tends totry to bring in crime and goofiness at the expense of serious publicpolicy examination and discussion.C: So do you still find satisfaction in the job?LM: Sure. I mean it was shocking for me to discover that one year thebiggest audience I got was for a program about an old lady who cruiseddating services to find old guys. Several of them died and she ended upwith their stuff. She was caught, and she allowed me to interview her.But I was startled at the buzz, everyone was talking about the BlackWidow. I was thinking that it was pretty cheesy, but then again, it wasn'tjust a black and white caricature. I tried to bring some insight into thisaspect of human nature... this reinventing yourself. She did it formercenary reasons, but you have to take account of the fact that shegrew up poverty stricken and was probably abused. She grew up tough,and learned that if she was going to survive, she'd have to be creative.So you put all those things in, and try to elevate a crime to a place whereit has some deeper value. So it's possible to deliver the murder of theweek, and at the same time, leave people thinking about humanity.C: How has new media impacted your profession?LM: New media, twitter, the blog, these are tools. They're great tools,but the craftsperson still has to rely on him or herself. You can't letthe tools do everything. Google is wonderful. It used to take weeks totroll through libraries and microfiche to find stuff. I've seen storiesgenerated by virtue of the fact that there's stuff on Facebook wherethe people who put it out there didn't realize it would be used toexpose them. So these are wonderful tools. I think I become crankyong known for his work as co-host of the CBC's award-winning investigativenews program, The Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntyre has been reinventinghimself, and the transition from journalist to author of fiction appears to havecome naturally. Having penned his first novel, The Long Stretch, before theturn of the century and following it up ten years later with 2009's Giller Prize-winningThe Bishop's Man, he is now preparing to close out his trilogy with a new novel,intriguingly titled Why Men Lie. Drawing inspiration from great writers of history likeDickens, Hugo and Steinbeck, Linden has a knack for taking his readers into thedarkest reaches of the human condition, with seldom a false note. But this shouldcome as no surprise. Like his work on The Fifth Estate, MacIntyre's fiction shares thatcommon theme essential to all great journalism: the truth.COLLECTIONS' Jeremy Finkelstein recently sat down with the acclaimed newsmanto discuss the future of investigative journalism, institutional abuse, and Why Men Lie.LWhy Men Lieis published by Random House Canada and is available in bookstores everywhere.45