Since the 1980s, investigative journalism has undergone startling development in South America, where repressive regimes have long relegated such reporting to marginal publications or underground outlets. Watchdog Journalism in South America explores the rise of critical journalism in four countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Drawing upon interviews with journalists and editors and analyzing selected news stories from each country, Silvio Waisbord offers a unique look at the significant differences between critical reporting in developing democracies and that already in place in the United States and European democracies. As Waisbord demonstrates, critical reporting in South America can be better understood as watchdog journalism than as investigative reporting as understood in the tradition of Anglo-American journalism. Examining the historical absence of a muckraking press, he argues that watchdog journalism represents new political and media dynamics and discusses the emergence of a new journalistic culture and its contributions to the quality of democracy and public debates about morality, truth, and accountability.
Silvio Waisbord is assistant professor in the Department of Communications at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is the author of The Great Parade: Election Campaigns and Mass Media in Argentina, as well as numerous articles about media, politics, and globalization.