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Watchdog Journalism

The Art of Investigative Reporting

Stephen J. Berry

Publication Date - August 2008

ISBN: 9780195374025

304 pages
6 1/8 X 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $84.99


Watchdog Journalism: The Art of Investigative Reporting takes readers into the world of Pulitzer Prize reporting. Drawing from intriguing interviews and archival research, author Stephen J. Berry reveals the drama of the job and the passion of its practitioners as he narrates the back stories of six investigative projects that earned the craft's most coveted honor.

Rather than focusing solely on huge assignments that are out of reach for everyday journalists, the book explores stories that could emerge on the beat in "Anywhere, USA." Each chapter provides a fascinating case study that covers interviewing, working sources, ferreting out records, and dealing with partners and editors. This case-study approach details the genesis, development, and outcome of these stories, offering students a chance to see how journalists view their roles as public watchdogs and as professionals competing in an increasingly profit-centered environment. The text also discusses how crucial it is for journalists to follow a model of performance and ethical reporting standards in order to advance the role of journalism in our society.

Providing a mix of suspense, fun, and serious discourse, Watchdog Journalism is ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in investigative reporting. It is also a great resource for general readers, educators, and journalists curious about Pulitzer-quality reporting.

About the Author(s)

Stephen J. Berry is Associate Professor of journalism at the University of Iowa. He was a newspaper journalist for more than thirty-three years, having worked as a reporter for The Los Angeles Times and The Orlando Sentinel, where he and a colleague won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1993. Berry has won numerous other awards for investigative and project reporting, including the Associated Press Newspaper Executive Council Award for public service; The Los Angeles Times' Top of the Times Award and its Editor and Publisher Prize; and the Society of Professional Journalists Award (Atlanta Chapter).


"Berry has broken new ground for the insider analysis of important journalism. Typically, books about modern reporting tend either to be triumphalist (crusading newshounds bring down bad guys) or jeremiads (how the news system has collapsed). But Berry portrays Pulitzer Prize reporting teams as human beings, as well as craftspeople. More important, he shows the shades of gray and the complexities that his protagonists try to translate into black-and-white print and that often stymie 'solutions' to the scandals uncovered. We get an inside look at the many political, emotional, and historical factors that produced reporting that saved lives, but also split a community. This is a book that should be read by every journalist as well as everyone in the academy who thinks of him or herself as a critic of journalism."--David D. Perlmutter, William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, University of Kansas

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Investigative Mentality Exposes Cash-Seizure Abuse
    Chapter 2: Secret Sources, Documents Unlock Dark Secret
    Chapter 3: Persistence, Empathy Used in Tracking Tiger Force Terror
    Chapter 4: Soft Touch Shows Shipbreaking Kills, Maims
    Chapter 5: Paper Trail Reveals Exploitation of Mentally Ill
    Chapter 6: Daily Coverage Key to Hospital Horrors
    Appendix A: "Tainted Cash or Easy Money?"
    Appendix B: Court Record in Chapter 2
    Appendix C: Coy Allegation in Chapter 3