3. Digging the Dirt

  1. Jane L. Chapman and
  2. Nick Nuttall

Published Online: 15 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444395372.ch3

Journalism Today: A Themed History

Journalism Today: A Themed History

How to Cite

Chapman, J. L. and Nuttall, N. (2011) Digging the Dirt, in Journalism Today: A Themed History, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444395372.ch3

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 5 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405179539

Online ISBN: 9781444395372



  • digging the dirt, credentials as an investigative reporter - Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, John Pilger, Paul Foot, coming to one's mind;
  • investigative journalist, a man or woman whose profession - being to discover the truth;
  • general conception of investigative journalism - getting at the truth, whatever that may be, and that the truth is being concealed;
  • journalism's role as watchdog - seen as a safeguard against tyranny;
  • social reformers, power of the press - highlighting injustice, mounting campaigns for social reform;
  • Joseph Lincoln Steffens, one of the muckraking journalists - working for McClure's Magazine before World War I;
  • rise and fall of investigative journalism, latest renaissance - in aftermath of the Pentagon Papers exposé and the Watergate scandal;
  • “Faux investigations” - TV-style dramatic reporting, that hyped a subject of no great consequence to the polity, often celebrity-driven;
  • Sociologists David Croteau and William Hoynes - impact of corporate control on journalism in The Business of Media: Corporate Media and the Public Interest;
  • impact of commercialism on political coverage - public disengagement with political process, not just a result of news complexity


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Résumé: Lincoln Steffens

  • Résumé: S. S. McClure

  • Résumé: John Dewey

  • Résumé: Henry Luce