It seems to be a recurring theme of mine, ethics, I talked about it concerning covering a National Championship team, and again concerning general ethics or journalism and writing. Now, I’ll talk about it again, in relation to a book published in 2004 after the death of it’s author Stieg Larsson.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is about many things, but I will focus on the aspects which apply to journalism. Tattoo is about a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who takes an unusual job after being indicted and convicted of libel. Blomkvist was writing an article about a prominent businessman, Wennerstrom, and was hoodwinked when someone started leaking him untrue information. After he published his false story he was indicted and later convicted of libel. He explained later what had taken place and how he both innocent and guilty because his story was true but unverifiable. After his indictment his magazine Millennium, suffers and will soon go under, until they get help from Blomkvist’s new boss, Vanger, of the Vanger Corporation. The Millennium staff struggles with this and how it will effect their ability to report on the Vanger Corporation. The staff decides they will not go easy on the Company if ever the need arises. In the end, Blomkvist gets his revenge on Wennerstrom, when he publishes a forty-page story on all his illegal dealings, and then publishes the book which included all his sources and copies of all the emails, business statements pertaining to his illegal activities. While I applaud Blomkvist’s ability to catch the bad guy, I was not happy with how he got this information, through a hacker, essentially stealing. In real life I would think that would fall under bad ethics to publish a story from stolen sources, no matter how bad the person was, if he was that bad he should have turned all the information over to the police.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading a book about a real world, albeit fictional, account of trials with journalistic ethics and principles.