Journalistic Standards in the Matt Drudge Era Essay

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Journalistic Standards in the Matt Drudge Era


Public trust is at the heart of journalism. Such trust is built upon the credibility journalistic efforts. In the past, though mistakes have been made by even the most reputable of news providers, credibility was maintained and public trust in the journalist industry was steady. However, with the Internet taking its first infant steps into the reporting world, concern is being vocalized that public trust in journalism will be damaged by mavericks, such as Matt Drudge, who, without any foundation in reporting seek to tell the entire world every little secret he can dig up. And he’s been wrong.

This paper will examine the debate surrounding online journalism, including a general look at journalistic standards and an account of Matt Drudge’s activities as an Internet investigative reporter. With the pressures of staying current with technology, news services scramble to grab a piece of the Internet “pie,” but struggle to determine what the ethical standards should be and how public trust can be maintained in an environment where anyone with a computer and online capability can be a reporter.

Review of Literature

“Let the future begin.” These words closed Matt Drudge’s introduction during his June 2, 1998, address before the National Press Club. His topic: “Anyone with a modem can report on the world.” Times are changing and “traditional journalism” is finding it difficult to adapt. The Internet as a mass communications vehicle is challenging many accepted norms. Journalistic standards and ethics are among the most debated topics.

Though Matt Drudge is certainly not the only person reporting online news in a method inconsistent with traditional st...

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...99: 24.

Ryan, Leslie, “In Drudge Era, Educators Make Case of J-Schools,” Electronic Media, Vol. 17 (39) 1998: 26-27.

Sandberg, Jared, “Call It the Drudgegate Affair,” Newsweek, Vol. 134 (22) 1999: 50.

Snyder, Beth; Kerwin, Ann Marie, “’Clintern’ Story Raises Issues for Cyberjournalism,” Advertising Age, Vol. 69 (5) 1998: 32.

Stevenson, Kerry, “The Technology, Business, and Ethics of News,” International Broadcast Engineer (IBE), Oct 1999: 44.

Swaine, Michael, “Error-Correcting Journalism,” Dr. Dobb’s Journal: Software Tools for the Professional Programmer, Issue 313, 2000: 152.

Webster, Nancy Coltun, “Drudge Report,” Advertising Age, Vol. 69 (26) 1998: S22.

Weir, David, “Web Journalism Crosses Many Traditional Lines,” Nieman Reports, Vol. 54 (4) 2000: 35-38.

Wilson-Smith, Anthony, “What’s New About the Web,” Maclean’s, Vol. 113 (29) 2000: 14.

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