From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Chequebook journalism (or checkbook journalism in American English) is the form of journalism where the essential characteristic is that the journalist pays the subject of the work money for the right to publish his story.
The phrase "chequebook journalism" is often used pejoratively, with the suggestion being that stories obtained by paying people are not so worthy as those obtained by traditional investigations.
In Australia chequebook journalism is viewed as a symptom of the fiercely competitive commercial television industry (most notably amongst current affairs programs). In the UK the print media uses it extensively, due to its geographic layout being conducive to the distribution of newspapers Template:Citation needed.
The rescue of the Australian miners in the Beaconsfield mine collapse renewed public awareness of chequebook journalism, as the TV networks and their stakeholders bid for the exclusive rights to the story as told by miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb, who were trapped underground for 2 weeks.
In North America, paying money for interviews, although not necessarily illegal, is generally frowned upon. However, major media outlets in the United States will sometimes attempt to get around these standards by paying licensing fees for the rights to photos or footage (such as home video) relating to the subject, or paying for expenses such as flights, in conjunction with an "exclusive" interview.
Some notable examples of cases involving chequebook journalism include:
- 1977: David Frost paying Richard Nixon $US 600,000 for The Nixon Interviews
- 1985: the Nine Network paying Lindy Chamberlain $AU 250,000 for the exclusive rights to her story
- 1991: James Scott received $AU 250,000 for his story about being lost in the Himalayas for 43 days
- 1995: Bob Hawke and Blanche d'Alpuget received $AU 200,000
- 1997: the Seven Network paid rescued British solo yachtsman Tony Bullimore $AU 100,000 for his story about being trapped in his overturned vessel in the Southern Ocean
- 1997: the Seven Network paying Stuart Diver $AU 250,000 for his story about the Thredbo landslide in 1997
- 2005: the Ten Network paying Douglas Wood $AU 400,000 (and promising "some control over the final program") for his story about being kidnapped and held hostage in Iraq
- Gizmodo.com, an online technology enthusiast news website, paying an anonymous source $US 5,000 for providing a stolen prototype of the next generation iPhone.Template:When