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Objectives

By the end of this lesson participants will:

  • Describe the primary purpose of journalism among competing public communications activities
  • Write personal statement of professional responsibility

The elements of journalism are:

  1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.
  2. Its first loyalty is to its citizens.
  3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
  7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and in proportion.
  9. Its practitioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience.

Techniques you can use to verify your work and make it transparent to your audience:

  1. Avoid/prove modifiers.
  2. Test assumptions.
  3. Limit use of anonymous sources.
  4. Conduct accuracy checks.
  5. Disclose sources and methods systematically.
  6. Involve colleagues in questioning your work.
  7. Verify content of reports from other media sources.
  8. Use multiple sources in stories.
  9. Don't add what was not there from your reporting

Journalist's Creed

The Journalist's Creed was written by the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams. One century later, his declaration remains one of the clearest statements of the principles, values and standards of journalists throughout the world. The plaque bearing the creed is located on the main stairway to the second floor of Neff Hall.

I believe in the profession of journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one's own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another's instructions or another's dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds best -- and best deserves success -- fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can made it so, and equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today's world.


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