- Watchdog journalism
Watchdog journalism aims to hold accountable public personalities and institutions, whose functions impact social and political life. The term "lapdog journalism", for journalism biased in favour of personalities and institutions, is sometimes used as a conceptual opposite to watchdog journalism.
Watchdog journalism is commonly found in mainstream media, investigative journalism, alternative media, think tanks, or citizen journalism, such as blogs. While it is found in mainstream media and journalists check on government at all levels, the amount of auditing can vary over time. Since independent media and think tanks are not profit-oriented, they have more latitude in which to adopt strong positions and cover a wide range of topics. However, it is also more difficult to determine bias or the backing of non-mainstream outlets so those are sometime subject to covert exploitation by well-funded interests.
A notable example of watchdog journalism was Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's reporting of the Nixon-era Watergate scandal for The Washington Post that eventually led to the resignation of the president. In recent history, a notable example of watchdog journalism was the exposure of Dan Rather's investigative segment which cast George W. Bush's military record in an unfavorable light. The segment was based on the Killian documents, which blogger journalists exposed as being insufficiently verifiable as authentic.
Media watchdog journalism
Some watchdog journalism focuses on bias in the media. For examples from the United States, see list in Media bias in the United States. In the UK where there is greater national coverage, watchdog journalism is very effective and consumers' rights are upheld both by radio, television and most national newspapers.
- Marder, Murrey. This Is Watchdog Journalism. Nieman Reports (Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University) 53.2 (Summer 1998). Online posting. August 28, 2000. Accessed August 28, 2007. ["This excerpt is from remarks made by Murrey Marder, Nieman Fellow 1950 and retired Diplomatic Correspondent of The Washington Post, at the dinner of the first Nieman Watchdog Journalism Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 1, 1998."]
- Nieman Watchdog: Questions the Press Should Ask – Official site (Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University).
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