Blogger John Robinson saw a tweet about North Carolina News & Observer editor John Drescher on the astronomical cost of investigative journalism — $150,000 to $200,000 by some estimates — and turned it into a blog post that got widespread pickup in the blogosphere. In it, Robinson speculated that muckraking reporting may no longer be worth the cost in dollars, or in reporters. Following the print media cutbacks since 2007, many publications have echoed this reasoning, focusing their shrinking funds on the 24-hour news cycle rather than long-term reporting. But even in New York, where the budget cuts have arguably had the most impact, local reporters have shown that thorough investigative reporting is still worth doing. Below are some of the best examples from March.

City Limitsthree-part report about “three-quarter homes,” for instance, exemplifies the valuable role that local investigative reporters can play through extensive on-the-ground reporting, and intimate knowledge of their terrain. The report shed light on these “sober homes” — subsidized by the government, they often serve as shelters for parolees, addicts, and otherwise homeless populations — by sifting through citation records and tax forms, dogging city agencies, and spending long hours in the tenements themselves. Patrick Arden, the veteran reporter behing the series, uncovered a maze of shirked responsibilities that led to unregulated, unsafe, and often exploitative conditions for the tenants. But maybe more importantly, his familiarity with the area made him more sensitive to the problem, leading him to acknowledge that for many of the men living in these conditions, shutting these homes down would take away their best option.

Local reporting also provides unique access and opportunity for collaboration, as epitomized in the Village Voice‘s exposé of the NYPD’s 81st precinct. In 2010, former Officer Adrian Schoolcraft gave the Voice two years’ worth of tapes that he recorded from inside the department, exposing widespread corruption within the system. Updated this month after further reporting and the release of the internal investigations, the report demonstrates how local outlets can build trust and relationships with the community that they are in, and hold their authority systems accountable.

This month, the New York Times‘ report on Bushwick’s Wycoff Heights Medical Center proves that even a publication that defines the 24-hour news cycle can dedicate time and resources to thorough, local reporting. Their team dedicated three months to the hospital’s financial records, exposing the gross misuse of funds and abuse of power in the ailing hospital.

All of these publications defied Robinson’s dismal forecasts, but none as completely as theNew York World — a project out of Columbia University dedicated exclusively to government accountability journalism in New York. The World‘s investigation into the state’s redistrictingrevealed how Brooklyn’s immigrant communities are being stripped of their voices in liberal districts.