Reassessing Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer

Matthew Ricketson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Janet Malcolm's 1989 two-part article in The New Yorker opens with one of the most notorious lines in modern media criticism, accusing journalists of first seducing. then betraying. those they write about. The article was later published under the title The journalist and the murderer; it examined what she portrayed as the rotten underbelly ofj ournalistic practice. especially in book-length journalism. Malcolm's work has been influentialfor a generation of journalists and journalism academics. prompting discussion, often heated, of an issue that had been all but ignored by both industry and the academy. The purpose of this article is to revisit Malcolm's work, especially in the light of a largely over- looked attack on the ethics of Malcolm's own journalistic practice by "the journalist" of her title, Joe McGinniss
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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