Journalists utilize a wide variety of means when gathering information on their subjects. One of the ways to find information such as criminal, financial, and commercial histories is through a background report. There is a wide debate on whether it is ethical for journalists to pull background reports on the people they write about. Most take each story on an individual basis, personally deciding how to handle each situation. Whether they run a background report or not is usually completely the decision of the journalist.
Background reports offer a wide array of information. They usually are used by employers for the hiring process, but journalists can use them to find information regarding past criminal discrepancies. They can specifically set the dynamics of the report to only show the criminal aspects for the subject, making it easier to read. Some journalists run the reports just to find the information, but actually do not report it at all. This usually is still within the code of ethics for journalists.
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