Ethics of Investigative Journalism


To what degree is a journalist required to identify himself when using a social network?

Based on ONA’s “SOCIAL NETWORKS AND THE NEWS: KEY ISSUES,” it answers this question very straightforward by generalizing the situation to the common journalistic professional. Its states that journalists should clearly identify themselves by their name and the organization they are reporting for on any social network platform. I would agree with that, because as a journalist it’s all about expressing the news through their perception but have it be the most accurate and credible information available. That’s the key thing, credibility. With social networks, there are so many “citizen” journalists, you can never tell what news is authentic and what news is fabricated, so when a professional journalist lists their full name and organization, that gives them a supporting background, instead of someone randomly posting something anonymously. The reading also suggests asking a certain question about if an exception should be made for journalists researching a story undercover using a pseudonym as the account name to research inconspicuously. I think that is a very good question to ask because, investigative journalism is a big part of revealing the hidden truth that many corrupt individuals try their hardest to shield and sometimes extreme measures must be taken. I think the article, “The Ethics of Undercover Journalism” by Stefanie Chernow makes some interesting points in that, major precautions need to be taken when using another account to dive in to a story and really get the in-depth details, because although it may be difficult, there is a fine line between what is legal and what is illegal in a sense of entrapment and harassment. So it’s not that undercover journalism is wrong, it’s that it is very dangerous and sometimes can come off as passively aggressive, so being cautious of your surroundings and the information you gather and release is very important. I also found this article with great tips to prepare for investigative journalism.


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