Doorstep or Doorstepping In Journalism

What is the meaning of doorstepping in journalism? In Britain, the word doorstep, which happens to be a verb is used to describe the process of a a journalist visiting the homes of people in order to get information on a particular issue or event. The word is often used to show disapproval of this action normally done by journalists and reporters.

The word doorstep can also be used to describe a similar activity done by a politician who visits people in their homes with the purpose of convincing them into voting for him or his party.

Doorstepping is usually used for journalists.

If a person is doorstepped by journalists or reporters, what this means is that the journalists come to the person’s house and bombard the person with questions. The journalist or reporter engaging in this activity is said to be doorstepping.

The main reasons journalists and reporters engage in doorstepping is because they want to achieve the following:

  • Get an interview from a person
  • Get the person to answer certain questions
  • Get a picture of a person

Celebrities in particular are doorstepped a lot by journalists and reporters of tabloid newspapers.

Many consider doorstepping by journalists a form of intrusion and harassment. Over the years celebrities and people who suddenly find themselves involved in newsworthy events have complained a lot about being doorstepped by the press.

In doorstepping, a journalist and his cameraman would normally wait patiently uninvited outside the home of someone that they hope to obtain an interview or photographs. They will wait there patiently until they get a chance to talk to the person or take his or her photograph.

Some reporters even camp outside a person’s home for days in order to get the much needed interview or photograph. This is normally common in cases involving celebrities.

Doorstepping by journalists is heavily frowned upon by many. Critics call it nothing but intrusion and harassment. But thanks to the ever-increasing competition, many media organizations and journalists find it necessary to engage in doorstepping in order to get the stories before their competitors.

The Office of Communication (Ofcom) also describes ‘doorstepping’ as the process of recording an interview or attempting  to get one from somebody without giving the person any prior warning.

NB. Vox-pops are not considered to be part of doorstepping. Vox-pops is the process whereby a journalist goes on the streets to interview people at random on their opinions and views on certain issues.