Sample Essay on Journalism


A new report reveals that the majority of investigative journalists are convinced that the [=government was spying on them in a survey conducted by Pew Research Centre Study early February this year. The survey shows that 64% of the investigative journalists suspect federal government had privately gathered information about their communications through ‘telephone conversation, mails and while on the internet’ (Pew, 2015) .

The survey further finds most journalists are susceptible to espionage by the government. As ‘eight out of ten’ journalists believes that they are vulnerable to data collection.

The report bases on survey of 671 members of the non-profit journalists group, ‘Investigative Reporters and Editors’. About 71% of the journalists especially those that inform on matters to do with the ‘national security, foreign affairs’ and federal government argues that government collected data from their communications. The report finds that increasing concern over surveillance has not prevented journalists from pursuing stories. As only, a 14% admit to have stopped inquiring or contacting a source due to surveillance concern, as 49% admits to have modified on how they keep and share sensitive records and information. Amongst 454 respondents, of 38% identified as reporters acknowledge to have come up with new ways of reaching their informers (Dredge, 2014).

In addition, most believes that their internet service providers or employers have not put a proper mechanism to shield them against vigilance and hackers. This survey reflects the Human Rights Watch and the America Civil Liberties Union joint report ‘With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy. The report bases on interviews with journalists and lawyers on how they have modified communication kept sources and confidential information due to continued surveillance from the government. It finds government surveillance and secrecy to undermine press freedom, unrestricted rights to information and right to counsel. Over 50 journalists interviewed notes finds that surveillance was jeopardized their effort to report matters of public interest (HRW, 2014).

Linda Schade (2014) divulges that reporters, mostly those that cover intelligence, national security, and law enforcement have notice fear and reluctance from their sources that are unable to talk or share even unclassified information due to government crackdown on leaks.

Linda reports that most journalists have taken enough measures to protect their sources and always to secure their communication like encryption programs and operating anonymity while on line as most notes that they are unable to assure the confidentiality of their sources due to continued surveillance and data collection that can pin journalist down if caught.  This results in unforeseen barriers when it comes to developing new informant ready to blow the whistle, thus damping effort in enhancing accountability among public office bearers (Schade, 2014).

Suffice is to say that in as much as surveillance seems not to dampen investigative journalists efforts to unearth the truth as evidenced by preference of digital communication that continue to expose them to government spy. It is a hope of most investigative journalists that government will create a conducive working environment for the media by reducing the risks and fear that come with surveillance for the common good and public interest at large, towards achieving a free media and enhanced public trust.

Works Cited
Dredge, Stuart. ‘How have journalists responded to revelations of mass surveillance?’(2015) Print.


Schade, Linda. Mass surveillance is undermining journalists and lawyers.(2014), Print.