Introduction & Overview of The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm

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The Journalist and the Murderer Summary & Study Guide Description

The Journalist and the Murderer Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Over the decades, Janet Malcolm has built a reputation for herself as a journalist who does not shy away from raising unpleasant topics. Whether tackling psychology, literature, or the criminal justice system, Malcolm's frankness and controversial opinions have often placed her outside the journalistic community. In an article in Salon, Craig Seligman, an admirer of her work, readily acknowledged that "Malcolm is hard on her subjects.

Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer first appeared as an article in the New Yorker in 1989 and the following year, along with an appended afterword, it was published as a book. This extended essay dealt with journalistic ethics by focusing on the libel suit that a convicted murderer brought against writer Joe McGinniss for breach of faith. It sent shockwaves among members of the press. While Seligman asserted that The Journalist and the Murderer is "the masterpiece that permanently tied the noose around her neck." He maintained that she had a higher calling: "the service of the truth." While many critics accused Malcolm of attacking journalistic ethics, Malcolm's work is rather an exploration of the responsibility the journalist has to both the subject and the reader. Though the ultimate commitment the journalist has is to the "reader's interests," Malcolm concludes that the journalist should not ignore the "moral impasse" or employ "crude and gratuitous two-facedness," both of which, she tries to prove, McGinniss did.

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This section contains 231 words
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
The Journalist and the Murderer from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.