SPJ Position Paper on Checkbook Journalism
The Society of Professional Journalists ethics committee discusses the practice of paying for information.

Is South African journalism plagued by payola?
A 2012 article from Thabo Leshilo on The Media Online website discusses the dangers of brown envelopes and freebies with South African print media editors.

The Rotten Red Envelope
This 2010 article by Xu Donghuan on the Global Times website, the companion to China’s largest English newspaper, discusses the bribery issues in Chinese media.

In China Press, Best Coverage Cash Can Buy
A 2012 article by David Barboza in the New York Times, referenced in Case 4, that discusses the rates charged by Chinese media to promote Western and Asian business within the news product.

Blogging for Payola
John Reinan of the non-profit MinnPost website wrote this 2010 article about the struggle of balancing journalism vs. marketing when it comes to blogs.

SPJ slams ABC News in Casey Anthony case
The organization’s March 2010 release criticizing ABC for using checkbook journalism to purchase extensive photos and home video for use by its affiliates.


Pushing the Red Envelope
This 2014 New York Times opinion piece by Jiayang Fan of the New Yorker magazine says the Chinese government needs to take a stronger stance on corruption in journalism.

The Roots of Media Corruption in China
A January 2016 article from by David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong. He says corruption in the industry is regularly found in China.

Payola Journalism: A Breach of Ethics
Edward Wasserman, professor of journalism ethics, wrote this 2006 article for about the clash between principled argument and paid propaganda.

The Dangers of Accepting Payola in the Media Industry
Glenn Halbrooks provides a 2015 update to his original post in 2014 about ethical standards in meeting your media organization’s financial goals.

Seal the Brown Envelope for Good
Franz Kruger served as the ombudsman for the Mail & Guardian and wrote this column in 2010 concerning the brown envelope controversy in South Africa.


Paying for News? It’s nothing new.
This 2011 analysis by Jeremy Peters in the New York Times Sunday Review gives some of the history of the practice of paying for information.

How to Blog and Get Paid
This Business on Main column from Entrepreneur magazine’s website in 2012 explains the concept of professional blogging.

TMZ chief defends checkbook journalism
TMZ’s Harvey Levin talks to Fox News in September 2014 about why it’s okay to pay for videos and photos to report the news (video).

TMZ is becoming a big source for news
The Newseum website writes that the 2014 release of the Ray Rice video is another news victory for TMZ, or so-called tabloid journalism.

Newsrooms paying for scoops: Will it escalate?
This 2014 article by the Poynter Institute says the Toronto Globe and Mail had a legitimate argument in paying for video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack.

Related Topics

Payola’s roots in Rock and Roll music
The History of Rock website gives the origins of the term from the early days of music radio.

Media Ethics and Justice in the Age of Globalization
Google Books link to the text referenced in Case 4, edited by Shakuntala Rao and Herman Wasserman.

Social Morality or Instant News?
The Beijing Review asks: which is more important?  Read what professionals and academics in China think.

Thrilling Tale by Titanic Survivor
Harold Pride was paid $1,000 by the New York Times for his story of surviving the 1912 sinking of the Titanic (PDF).

ABC says it’s ending checkbook journalism
In July 2011, ABC announced it would no longer pay for interviews, saying the practice had tarnished its reputation.


The Ethical Journalist
Google Books link to the 2nd edition of Gene Blackwell’s book about making responsible decisions in the digital age.

What is an Ombudsman?
The Organization of News Ombudsmen breaks down the definition and necessity of these positions within the mass media.

Edward Wasserman profile
Dr. Wasserman’s biography from his latest position as Dean of UC-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Franz Kruger profile
Learn more and read articles from the ombudsman for South Africa’s Mail & Guardian and a member of the South African Press Appeals Panel.