Your responsibility in seminars

You are expected to read widely and critically, guided by the weekly reading list. Readings marked ‘essential reading’ are compulsory for the weekly seminar discussions and the assignments, and constitute the minimum required reading each week. A pdf of these vital chapters, or a link to them, will be placed online for you in Blackboard, where they will remain throughout the semester.
Although you should all ensure that you do the minimum reading every week, for one nominated week you are required to co-lead the seminar – a more demanding role that is formally assessed. To co-lead the seminar you must:
– Answer the questions based on that week’s essential reading, provided in this module guide;
– Attempt your own critical and analytical assessment of the essential reading – what questions does it raise?
– Coordinate with the other co-leaders of your seminar – i.e. work as a team;
– Provide your own critical assessment of any wider reading that you have done that is relevant to that week’s topic.
– Inspire debate!
In doing this, you will ensure that the seminar functions well. Leading the seminar is part of your formal assessment. The order of who will lead what seminar will be determined at the start of the module, in our first seminar session.

Your seminar asks you to look at Feldstein’s (2007) three models of investigative journalism (colloquially called ‘muckracking’). Your seminar questions are as follows:
• Describe and evaluate Feldstein’s three Muckraking Models.
• If the ventriloquist model of investigative journalism prevails, what are the implications for democracy?
• To what extent does press coverage of the build-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq bear out Feldstein’s claim that ‘reporters are only as accurate as their sources’ (Feldstein, 2007, p.500)?
• What are the weaknesses inherent in investigative journalism?
• How prevalent is investigative journalism today compared to the past?
• What are the barriers to investigative journalism?
Essential reading:
Feldstein, M. (2007). Dummies and ventriloquists: models of how sources set the investigative agenda. Journalism, 8(5): 499-509.
Supplementary reading:
– Aucoin, J.L. 2005. The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism. Columbia: University of Missouri Press.
– Brennen, B. (2003). Book Review: Sweat not melodrama: Reading the structure of feeling in All the President’s Men. Journalism, 4, 113-131.
– Campbell, D. (1989). The Thatcher government vs. the British press. Columbia Journalism Review, 28(1 ): 33-37.
– de Burgh, H. (ed.) (2000). Investigative journalism: context and practice. London: Routledge.
– Feldstein, M. (2006). A Muckraking Model: Investigative Reporting Cycles in American History.
The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 11: 105-120.
– Finkelstein, D. (2008). Investigative Journalism, Journalism Practice, 2,1: 130-134.
– Landau, S. (2010). The most dangerous man in the world. Progresso Weekly. [Online]. 7 April 2010. Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2010].
– Lanosga et al. (2015). A BREED APART? Journalism Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2015.1051570
– McCartney, J. (1973). The Washington ‘Post’ and Watergate: how two Davids slew Goliath. Columbia Journalism Review, 12(2 ): 8-22.
– McWilliams, C. (1970). Is muckraking coming back? Columbia Journalism Review, 9(3 ): 8-15.
– Pilger, J. (ed.) (2005). Tell me no lies: investigative journalism and its triumphs. London: Vintage.
– Washington Post (2009). The Watergate story. The Washington Post, [internet]. Available at: [Accessed 30 November 2009].
– Pakula, A.J. (Dir.) (1976). All the President’s men [videorecording]. Warner Bros.; a Wildwood Enterprises production; Burbank, CA: Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2006]
– All The President’s Men (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1976] [DVD]
– Documentaries That Changed The World – John Pilger [DVD]
– Frost Nixon–The Complete Interviews: Special Limited Edition–2 disc Collectors set [DVD]

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