While many have rightfully mourned the weakening of the press in the past few decades, the advent of the Internet has given them a new position of prominence.

Actually, the celebrity journalist is not a new concept. Some rose to fame in decades ago thanks to their influential coverage of Nixon in the Watergate scandal, American atrocities in the Vietnam War, and more. The term itself was coined in 1986, and this category has evolved ever since. TV journalists have enjoyed the limelight, but with celebrity and influencer growing closer and closer every day, focus has shifted to journalists with significant followings on social media, such as Twitter. According to analysis by Michael Tauberg, the “most influential” journalists on twitter have over 1 million followers each.* For more context, see MuckRack’s excellent report on this.

*Huge caveat: this post is written from an American perspective. I welcome juicy trend information /context from other countries in the comments!

The Reuters Institute of Journalism provides some quick context on the ability of specific journalists to grab attention across 6 countries:

There’s a new role for journalists in this Age of the Internet. And I don’t mean podcasts. While I do subscribe to podcasts of my famous celebrity journalists, I may have found an even better method of consumption.

That is, the Netflix documentary.

This year, 2022, is arguably the renaissance of the Netflix documentary. If any scandal made a big splash in the news, you can bet Netflix has contracted with someone to craft content to maximize on that. These documentaries feature the people (law enforcement, victims and perpetrators) actually involved in the scandals, but also the journalists who reported on them. Now this, is where it gets juicy.

Not only do we get insight into how journalists perceive the players in each story, we are party to first-hand explanation of how they caught on in its nascency, gathered information, and, in some cases, contributed to the fall of fraudulent companies.

If you love hot goss and hero journalists, nothing gets better than this!

Without further ado, here is my list of top recommendations.

Best Documentaries ft. Journalism

  1. Skandal! Bringing Down Wirecard
  2. Bad Bets – WSJ Podcasts (honorary podcast mention)
  3. Upcoming must-watch documentary! She Said
  4. The Tinder Swindler
  5. Fugitive: The Curious Case of Carlos Ghosn
  6. LuLaRich
  7. Lords of Scam
  8. Web of Make Believe: Death, Lies and the Internet I’m Not a Nazi, Death by SWAT

(Note/CW: there are a lot of dark, graphic documentaries on Netflix. The above are on the lighter end of the scale. However, 8. does include content that may be triggering as it depicts violence including murder, extreme racism, and holocaust denial.)

This list is in no way finished. I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

One response to “Journalism-lovers, the documentary is your new best friend”

  1. Amy Hersch Avatar

    You must see SKANDAL! BRINGING DOWN WIRECARD if you are a real crime and espionage illuminati. If you enjoyed reading the epic fact based spy thriller “Beyond Enkription” in The Burlington Files series you should love watching James Erskine’s Skandal! Bringing Down Wirecard on Netflix and vice versa. The Burlington Files was about a British Chartered Accountant (Bill Fairclough MI6 codename JJ, aka Edward Burlington) who was employed by Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in the seventies. He unwittingly started working for MI6 and infiltrating international organised crime gangs and then got good at it. His bio makes most investigative journalists jealous! If you are an espionage aficionado or an aspiring investigative journalist the raw and noir thriller Beyond Enkription is a must read.

    Do look up the authors or books mentioned on Amazon, Google The Burlington Files and read Beyond Enkription.


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