Essay on Journalistic Standards in the Matt Drudge Era

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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
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For example, National Press Club president Doug Harbrecht, before the entire press club assembly in 1998, stated, “Matt, know this…there are many in this hallowed room who do not consider you a journalist.” Harbrecht also likened Drudge to a channel catfish, stating, “He mucks through the hoaxes, conspiracies and half-truths posted online in pursuit of fodder for his website.”

“National media monitors such as Howard Kurtz and Judy Mann denounce Drudge as a ‘Cyberspace vacuum cleaner.’ Michael Kinsley, editor of Microsoft’s online magazine Slate, said Drudge has ‘certainly been a public relations problem for the Internet.’ Steven Brill called Drudge a ‘bust.’” (Miller)

Baltimore Sun Washington correspondent Jules Witcover has referred to him as the “abomination” of the Internet. “I don’t consider him a journalist or a reporter,” said Witcover. “He’s a gossipmonger who offers no sources. He’s more like a magpie.”

These opinions of Drudge seem to be widely held within the traditional journalist community.

Drudge, 34, is a “self-styled cyberspace patriot who thrives on news scoops via ‘Drudge Report’, has found fame at a fast and furious pace.” (Webster) Drudge, who has no formal education in the practice of journalism, admits that he was a D-student in high school and never went to college. He worked in a 7-Eleven in the Washington

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