A joke from the old USSR reported an exchange during a Politburo discussion about a ten-year plan that almost all those present thought was progressing satisfactorily. “Yes,” grunts a dissenter steeped in Marxist theology, “it’s very, very successful in practice, but the theory is all wrong.”
Some years ago, the newspaper industry came together to digitalise archives of printed newspapers. Millions of pages, tens of millions of stories, reaching back to 1738, all adding up to the first draft of Irish history, were centralised in a way that secures the data and assures public access.
JOHN Mindermann is part of an unusual fraternity. A former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), now 80 and retired in his hometown, San Francisco, he is among the relative handful of law-enforcement officials who have investigated a sitting president of the US.
THOUGH it’s more than 42 years since Richard Nixon was forced to resign as American president — August 9, 1974 — that denouement remains the high-water mark of investigative journalism. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, through The Washington Post and with the help of a mole — identified 30 years later as FBI executive William Mark Felt — defeated the most powerful office in the world.