Leaks-based journalism and media scandals: From official sources to the networked Fourth Estate?

Víctor Sampedro, F Javier López-Ferrández, Álvaro Carretero
  • European Journal of Communication, March 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/0267323118763907

Leaks-based journalism and media scandals: the role of official and citizen leaks in media agenda

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

What is it about?

This paper offers a comparative study of three media scandals arising from two types of leaks: the official ones (the Monedero Case and the Pujol Case) and that of the citizens (the Falciani List). Official leaks are carried out by elites and respond to private/partisan interests. Citizens’ leaks come from anonymous individuals who deliver huge databases to the media for journalistic treatment. Our objective is to analyze the coverage received by both types of leaks in the Spanish press.

Why is it important?

Our research is focused on leaks-based journalism. This topic still has not deeply explored by academic literature. Our paper sheds light on the role of political scandals in polarized media systems. At the same time, it shows the limitations imposed on citizen leaks, making it difficult to configure a networked Fourth Estate (Benkler, 2011; Sampedro, 2014)


Francisco Javier López-Ferrández
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

This paper offer an innovative view about the collaborative process that are emerging between media and citizen, as well as between different newsrooms in Spain. It show the potentialities and the limits of this new processes in the hybrid media ecologies.

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The following have contributed to this page: Francisco Javier López-Ferrández