Chapter 1: Ethics and Journalism? Next Chapter

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Ethics and Journalism?
Ethics and journalism?

A reporter is ‘a man without virtue who writes lies … for his profit.’

Dr Samuel Johnson
The Reporting Bestiary: Watchdogs, Vultures and Gadflys

In polls conducted in 1993 estate agents received the lowest rating in British public esteem; journalists were just above them. And yet the lure of a career in the media is stronger than ever. Reporters repel and attract; they are the twenty-first century equivalent of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the ‘hack’ for whom, in the words of foreign correspondent, Nicholas Tomalin, the only necessary qualifications are ‘a plausible manner, rat-like cunning and a little literary ability (26 October, 1969).’

Little trusted, little loved (but often secretly admired), the reporter is seen as the cynical, ruthless figure parodied in the ...

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