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Muck-raking scumbag or noble seeker after truth? Journalism seems to accommodate both stereotypes with the same ease it embraces lurid allegations of the latest celebrity infidelity alongside exposure of serious institutional or individual wrongdoing or serious political and social analysis.

Certainly in the rankings of trustworthiness, journalists regularly feature somewhere around the bottom, along with politicians, used car salesmen and estate agents. Yet scratch a journalist and you'll often find some intriguing mix of idealism and scepticism. You'll always find a passion for the job and a belief, often well hidden, that journalism matters.

According to BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, journalists are members of the ‘awkward squad’. They're not there to be loved or to be popular, but to ask questions some would prefer not ...

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