Watergate in Journalism

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Watergate in Journalism

By | Jan. 2013
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Watergate played a huge part in making investigative reporting fixed in American journalism and has been spreading around the world largely because of it. I can’t help but feel like the future of investigative reporting is still at risk forty years since Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein wrote their first stories about the break in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington’s Watergate office building. Investigative journalism died down during the two world wars, the Great Depression, and the McCarthy era because even though reporters wanted to deliver the news, it was extremely dangerous during these times. But at the beginning of the 1960s, it slowly came back because of civil rights and war movements. After these times, I think society’s thirst for the news and the truth grew greater and investigative journalists noticed that. It was because of this that in 1963, television networks doubled their evening news shows and began airing prime-time investigative documentaries . In 1964, the Pulitzer Prize board created an annual award for investigative reporting. Also, the 1964 Supreme Court decision in New York Times v. Sullivan made it much more difficult for public officials being scrutinized by the press to sue successfully for libel , and the Freedom of Information Act passed by Congress in 1966, made it much easier for reporters to find vital information. For journalism, Watergate stories have had an enduring impact, even after all these years. Many young journalists have been inspired by Watergate, and have entered the profession to become investigative reporters. Newspapers, television networks, and stations formed investigative teams and showcased their work. I’ve noticed a huge rise is investigative reporting and not just in the professional news. Average people are joining in and starting blogs, chiming in on social media platforms and their opinions are becoming the leading edge of the next investigative story.