Deception has been lauded as an effective tool of last resort for investigative reporting for more than 100 years. When used in the pursuit of material that is in the public interest, it has been invaluable in helping the press meet its watchdog function. When justified, journalists can provide persuasive explanations to audience members for why the technique was required to access information that the public needed to know. However, deception used for other reasons, such as to add unnecessary drama to a report, can damage journalistic credibility.

This entry further defines deception in journalism and discusses why it poses an ethical problem. It then looks at how deception can be justified and provides some examples of journalistic deception. The entry focuses on deception in the ...

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