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The Nine Rules of Journalism

Chequebook journalism and the invasion of the amateurs

'Press photographers are bound by a professional code of conduct, you can't say that for your average Joe,' Knut Haavik, editor of Norwegian gossip rag Se og Hör, commenting on the inflation in mobile phone pictures – well-awarded by the press if it involves the right celebs – during yesterday's open hearing in the wake of Se og Hör's 'chequebook-journalism scandal'.

Haavik said this particular brand of citizen journalism (my phrase) means we're fast approaching an informer society, which I guess sites such as GawkerStalker could be taken as evidence for. However, I'm not so convinced the celebs of this world feel a professional code of conduct makes the world a safer place.

Yesterday's hearing was based on a report about Se og Hör's work methods which indicated that roughly 15 per cent of the gossip mag's stories rely on chequebook journalism. The Norwegian Press Association is considering to alter the country's code of conduct for journalists to get to grips with the problems surrounding this type of journalism.


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