“Don’t become the story!”

This line is trotted out to journalists-in-training, and is generally good advice. It has to be balanced by the recognition that — at least since the advent of New Journalism and Gonzo in the 1970s — some of the best journalism breaks the rule. As the recent controversy around investigative journalist Jacques Pauw indicates, however, too much metajournalism (journalism about journalists) tends to reflect poorly on the profession. It means that something has gone wrong; a rule has been flouted, a well-established practice ignored. Pauw’s reputation has been dented, undermining the work of his fellow-scribes...

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