Week In Week Out: No one wants to sit in the dark

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We're back.

For almost five decades, (we celebrate our 50th later this year), Week In Week Out, has been asking awkward questions, shining a light into dark corners and, depending on who you are, generally making a nuisance of itself. For those people we are – on the menu of BBC Wales programmes – the grit in the oyster.

It is a badge we wear with pride.

To be clear, our intention has never been mischievous. We do not and never have pursued bad news just because bad news sells. This is the BBC. You'd expect me to say that. It happens to be true.

Tim Rogers

Our mission is to call authority to account, to question the established view and to ask – annoyingly and persistently for some perhaps – why?

It is investigate journalism – and yes, it IS still relevant.

A former colleague of mine once observed, "All journalism should be investigative." Of course he's right - in an ideal world that is. A Halcyon world of journalism where the accountants rule that 'facts are expensive and opinions are cheap' did not dominate the editorial agenda. In that world there was no differential – they had parity and their place. Ah, the green green fields of Halcyon.

Shame about reality.

The fact is that today the pursuit of facts and information behind the headlines IS expensive and for that reason the Week In Week Out mission is becoming rare indeed. Across Britain the place of long-form journalism has diminished as budgets have been pressed and the room for original and sometimes lengthy inquiry has been squeezed. Newsrooms and feature desks ain't what they used to be. The daily newspaper I trained on in the north closed a few months ago after 150 years. It probably won't be the last.

So why does this matter?

Even with the development of new technology and social media – how dark would the room be without intelligent journalism? How much of the world do you know – or have even heard about - because of the objective reporting of events and issues? How much would it suit those with something to hide to turn the light off - and where would that leave us?

Tim Rogers

In the first of our new series starting tonight we look into how a convicted drugs dealer was able to lead, organise and run a drugs network across south Wales from inside prison.

We are given exclusive access to the undercover police team that foiled the plot and rounded up the gang.

Operation Pierre raises questions about the suitability of Open Prisons for certain inmates; and we ask the Prisons Minister if changes are necessary.

So, yes, we're back.

Throughout the new series we will keep on asking questions – to keep the light on – and you informed. No one wants to sit in the dark.

Week In Week Out is next on Tuesday 20 May, BBC One Wales, 10.35pm.

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