Scandal and the Rise of Investigative Reporting in France

March 2, 2007 • Ethics and Quality • by

AMERICAN BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST, Vol. 47, Nr. 9, May 2004

Investigative reporting is a recent development in France, with the revelation of scandals becoming a legitimate practice for journalists only since the 1980s. To date, investigative reporting knows few practitioners and faces considerable obstacles. The French journalistic tradition has long been influenced by literature and politics and therefore has not placed as much emphasis on the collection and exposition of facts as Anglo-American journalism. Until the 1980s,there was very little competition in the media field,acting as an other disincentive for newspapers to seek out information. Until the beginning of the Fifth Republic, venality was widespread among French journalists, further hindering the revelation of scandals. Influential social theories prevented the personalization of politics, placing an emphasis on the systemic and collective causes of problems.

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