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Chequebook Journalism
Chequebook journalism

The practice of journalists paying for information or for exclusive interviews dates from the earliest origins of the modern press. Exclusive stories have a market value in circulation wars, or in battles for television ratings.

When pursuing major stories, tabloid newspapers and popular magazines will authorize journalists to produce cheques on door-steps and carry contracts to sign up the individual concerned. Reporters may become ‘minders’, hiding the contracted individual at a secret location to thwart rival journalists. Britain's regional press is usually too mean to make such payments, leaving it scope to take a high moral stand against them.

The ethical argument against such payments is that they may encourage people to lie or embellish facts to gain money, or impede the free flow ...

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