Chequebook journalism: a South African picture
Stos, Susan Lisabeth
Chequebook journalism is the convention of paying for stories. It is considered antithetical to good journalism, yet is essentially ignored in many codes of conduct. This research report investigates television actuality programs Carte Blanche, Special Assignment and Third Degree in which the theory, as well as the practice of chequebook journalism was discussed with the journalists and executive producers. Discussion expanded into other contingent, morally suspect areas of payment, and the lines they felt should not be transgressed. Four focus groups of viewers then debated chequebook journalism and the quality of these programs. It was anticipated that the practice of journalism would be in line with audience views yet the standard of journalism as herein established surpassed viewer estimation. Whereas the topic has been written of extensively in many first world Englishspeaking countries, no research has been conducted in South Africa, thus adding valuable information to the study of journalism.
chequebook journalism, paying for stories, buying stories, television journalism, ethics