What Is Attack Journalism?

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Attack journalism is usually the term applied to journalists that focus on personal scandals. Discover the difference between attack journalism and aggressive journalism with help from a journalism professor in this free video on careers in journalism.

Part of the Video Series: Careers in Journalism
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Video Transcript

So, what is attack journalism? Well, I think, at least in my mind, one person's attack journalism is another person's aggressive journalism. Attack journalism is usually the term that is applied to what's going on by the person who is the object of the aggressive journalist. You know, actually attacking somebody, as a journalist, is, is a kind of a career killer, actually. You know, conventional journalists are expected by their organizations and their editors to be fair, to be balanced, and, you know, to be caught, actually, vindictively attacking somebody is to ask to be fired, or to be reassigned. That said, you know, journalism does get aggressive sometimes, it does challenge people, it does embarrass people, it does focus on, on personal scandals, and, and in that sense, journalism is getting less polite. You know, journalism at John F. Kennedy's time routinely ignored John F. Kennedy's extra marital affairs, for example. That would not happen today. Those affairs would be all over the place and, and we've seen the recent coverage of, in fact are, the, and, so people who are targets of that kind of aggressive journalism do tend to call it attack journalism, but some of us tend to call it just good aggressive journalism.

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