Watchdog Journalism – Journalism & Society 27.10.16

October 31, 2016 in Journalism & Society

This week, our lectures were about the subject of Watchdog Journalism and the effectiveness of it as well as the power of journalism.

During my readings I learnt that a lot of watchdog journalists who retrieved some of the biggest stories in journalism history, had to break the law to get the evidence to prove that what they were claiming to be the truth was actually the truth.  What stood out to me during the lectures was the argument of whether or not we think it’s ethical for Journalists to be breaking the law to retrieve the information that can back up their story as evidence.

I believe that theres an argument that backs up both sides. You could say that in certain situations, the only way for a journalist to retrieve the evidence to prove their story, is to potentially do something against the law. Then again, there are always ethical and legal ways to back up your story or even dropping the story all together if it leads to a dead end.

Personally, I believe that if it is in the public’s interest and the people have the right to know, I don’t see an issue with a journalist breaking the law to retrieve the information as long as no one gets hurt and that information is vital evidence for a story. Some people would see it as a heroic thing to risk their careers and sometimes their life for a story. For example, with the Watergate scandal that took down President Nixon. That was a story that has gone down in history and is still to this day, referenced in other news stories like ‘MarmiteGate’ and ‘PigGate’. It had such an impact to the American politics, even Laws changed.

This brings us to my next thought, how much power should a Journalist have and how much power does a Journalist have?

The fact that two journalists under the age of thirty, managed the take down The president of the United States when he resigned due to their story back in 1974, proves that they do have the power to do great things. But how far does their power reach? You could say that if the public does not think a story is interesting, then the Journalist has no power. However, if the public latches on to a particular story, that is when the ripple effect of the story begins. Its like dominoes, the story is the start and then the publics reaction, is the one that tips the first domino.

Overall, I believe that the power has always, and will always lie in the publics hand. Journalists have no power if the public does not find them interesting.




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