Whitaker, Ramsey, and Smith (in Media Writing: Print, Broadcast and Public Relations, 2nd ed.; Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004) point to sensationalism and saturation coverage, especially of high profile issues or celebrities, as the main causes for the unethical and illegal practices in print media (25-27).
They cite several print media practices that could lead to sensational coverage (27-29):
Whitaker, Ramsey, and Smith contrast these practices against the ideal role of print media as the "watchdog" of the public: "the print or broadcast reporter...often has the unenviable task of going into a conflict-ridden situation to determine what is and is not true, of identifying the good guys and the bad guys" (29).
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