Founded in 1918, the FPA is the pre-eminent non-governmental organization representing international journalists in the U.S. With members from more than 50 countries, the FPA offers orientation and ne...
PIECES FOR PEACE EXHIBITION
hosted at Consulate General of Germany
CITYarts' Young Minds Build Bridges Program designed the "Pieces for Peace" with 'Youth from around the World Project' to b...
CITYArts PIECES FOR PEACE EXHIBITION hosted at Consulate General of Germany
CITYarts' Young Minds Build Bridges Program designed the "Pieces for Peace" with 'Youth from around the World Project' to build bridges of cultural understanding by bringing youth from around the world into contact and dialogue with each other and with society as a whole through art.
PHOTO: From left - David Gill (Consul-General of Germany) - David P. Michaels (President, Foreign Press Association) - Tsipi Ben-Haim ( CITYarts Executive Director) - Amir Dossal (President, Global Partnerships Forum) ... See MoreSee Less
Kim Wall (1987-2017) FPA Scholarship Alumna (2013)
By Joanna Nurmis (AKA Joanna Margueritte-Giecewicz)
I met Kim on 9th May, 2013 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. We went there to receive our awards in the Foreign Press Association’s 2013 Scholarship Award ceremony – she had First Place, two students Second Place, and two others, including me, Third Place. (View photo, below).
We were all very excited to be there and to be honored at a fancy dinner with our invited guests and prominent journalists in attendance. I shared a table with Kim and the other awardees, and I remember very well the impression she made on me: that of an extremely confident, lively, friendly, and attentive person who was both completely present and relishing the moment, and at the same time not consumed by it, not completed by it. I knew there was much more to Kim than I could see. Yet she had not a hint of arrogance about holding First Place; rather, she was there to share in the celebration of young foreigners studying journalism in the United States.
Today while taking a break from work to read the news, I stumbled upon a story about the development in the freak death of a Swedish journalist – and I started paying attention. For the first time, the journalist’s name caught my eye. I suddenly realized, in a way you realize something that you know there is no way can be explained away, definitively and instantly: she was the victim. The Kim I knew from that dinner four years ago, and whom I still vividly remember.
Many are underscoring how this tragic, ghastly death brings the perils of freelancing, especially for women, to the forefront – and not just in dangerous places like Sri Lanka and North Korea, where Kim also went, but even in “home territory,” in the comforts of a developed country – Denmark. Kim was well aware of risks and like many freelancers, had HEFAT (hostile environment and first aid) training. It didn’t help her on August 10, 2017.
Since the early 2000s, as staffing positions for journalists across the board are being cut, the numbers of freelancers have been rising dramatically. The most important issue for them, apart from income instability, is safety and security. Kim was in contact with one of her editors in New York before embarking on her ride on the submarine, but no organization was formally entrusted with overseeing her safety that day.
My heart grieves for a woman I barely knew, a woman I had the privilege of sharing a meal with. I read every single tribute posted to her memory on the website:
I would like to draw your attention to the grant that her family is setting up to support female journalists wishing to cover a subculture. Please consider engaging with this initiative. Considering what was done to her body, to say: “Remember Kim” takes on an acute meaning. Indeed, may we never stop re-membering her. In our memory may she live on whole and full of life: a beloved daughter, sister, friend and courageous global reporter.
Kim Wall (center), First Place Awardee in the 2013 FPA Scholarship Fund, at the May 9, 2013 Awards Dinner in New York City, surrounded by the other awardees, from left: Joanna Nurmis (ex Margueritte-Giecewicz) – author of this tribute, Silvia Higuera, Anders Melin, and Jamie Lee. ... See MoreSee Less
"A writer -- and, I believe, generally all persons -- must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."
Dynamic IVY Policy Workshop on "How to Influence the Future of Media & Democracy." This special evening featured media specialists in an intriguing panel discussion focused on efforts to combat fake news and to raise news literacy among our generations.
Speakers included Kathleen Eagen, Director of the New York Foreign Press Center for the State Department; Darragh Worland, Vice President for Digital Media at the News Literacy project; and Jessica Firger, Journalist and Senior Staff Writer at Newsweek. Our discussion was moderated by the President of the Foreign Press Association David P. Michaels.
OPENING REMARKS By David Michaels, Moderator
First. Some DISCLAIMERS:
All of my comments, opinions and/or remarks are my own, and do not reflect the opinion of the Foreign Press Association. In addition, some of my comments, opinions, and/or remarks, can cause drowsiness. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive a motor vehicle after listening to me!
And now something about the history of what is now termed, “FAKE NEWS.”
Basically, it is “Misinformation,” “Disinformation,” or in one word, “Propaganda.”
It has been around since humans were first able to communicate. For example: The early cave-dwelling male found ways to “flirt” with the female of the species by communicating that he was a better hunter and provider than the cave-dwelling male living in the cave up the nearby rocky road!
He might have achieved this by suggesting that his spear or club was bigger and better than the competing cave dweller’s ……
Might have been true … but might have been “FAKE NEWS” or perhaps propaganda to achieve his objective with the females!
In Medieval England, town criers were the chief means of news communication with the townspeople, since many were illiterate. Throughout the centuries, Royal proclamations, local bylaws, market days, news (both true and FAKE), were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier.
Today, technology is the “Global Village's” [principal] town crier! …… Particularly “SOCIAL MEDIA.”
“FAKE NEWS” misinforms or “conditions” society on a range of topics, not only in politics, but also in almost all sectors of human relationships and industries. It is also used to question scientific and other evidence when not “convenient” for third-party objectives.
“FAKE NEWS” is also used to describe anything that a person does not agree with!
It is said that Propaganda, Misinformation,” and “Disinformation, are all components of “BRAINWASHING” used as a tool to “control” the thought process and conduct of individuals and/or sectors of a population. Basically, motivating a person's behaviour.
So how does “FAKE NEWS” affect society as a whole, today? Is the “social media” part of the problem …. part of the solution …. or both?
(NOTE: Full transcript of panel discussion and Q&A will be posted when available.) ... See MoreSee Less
Foreign Press Association Scholarship Fund Announces 2017 Award Winners
NEW YORK, May 16, 2017
The Foreign Press Association Scholarship Fund, established in 1993 on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Foreign Press Association, today announced the 2017 recipients of its annual FPA Scholarship Awards.
The FPA Scholarship Awards will take place at an Awards reception on Thursday, 19th May in New York.
The four winners are international students currently enrolled at graduate schools of journalism in the United States.
The students were asked to submit an OP-ED on the following: “Globally, there is evidence of an ideological and moral struggle. The old divide, between left and right, is giving way to a contest between globalists and nationalists. Adding additional fuel to these burning issues are refugees – casualties of the political/religious conflicts – along with victims of the fastest growing global criminal enterprise – human trafficking. As we observe the demise of one world order and set of moral standards with the birth of another, in your opinion, is it the role of the international media to shine a light on the great moral and societal issues of our times, not to sensationalize, but to hold accountable the governments, decision makers and civil society?”
“The quality of the submissions we received continues to demonstrate the exceptional caliber of international students at leading US graduate schools of journalism,” said David P. Michaels, President of the Foreign Press Association. He continued,“Some of the submissions from the Awardees reflect both concern about the way much of the media is covering events with too much biased “opinion,” and not enough traditional and well-researched, reporting.”
THE 2017 FPA SCHOLARSHIP AWARDEES:
1st Place: The Bayer FPA Scholarship Fund Award – Jingnan Huo – Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism
2nd Place Award – Shen Lu – Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism
Joint 3rd Place Award – Riham Alkousaa – Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism – Marcos Martinez – UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
The Scholarship Fund Awards are made possible through the generous financial support of members and major corporations.
For more information regarding the FPA Scholarship Fund or attending the Awards on Thursday May 19th, please contact the FPA Events Team at: FPA@ForeignPressAssociation.org
About the Foreign Press Association
Established in 1918, the Foreign Press Association is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization representing international journalists in the U.S. The association provides orientation and networking opportunities including news making and educational events that join journalists with political and business leaders, here and abroad. ... See MoreSee Less
"I AM FLUSHED WITH MY PRIDE OF NEW YORK" (David Michaels)
A Public Restroom Fit for Brooke Astor Gets an Upgrade By WINNIE HU* APRIL 5, 2017
[PHOTO: The newly renovated bathrooms at Bryant Park will reopen this month. The $280,000 project will bring high-tech toilets, new artwork on the walls and more. Photo Credit Alex Wroblewski for The New York Times]
Bryant Park, a six-acre oasis set among Manhattan skyscrapers, packs in the crowds with its winter ice rink and holiday shops, summer movie nights, smorgasbord of artisanal fare and rustic lunch tables and chairs under stately London plane trees.
Yet it is a 315-square-foot Beaux-Arts gem that draws the longest lines: the bathroom.
If there is a Tiffany’s of public restrooms, this is it. Divided into men’s and women’s sides, it has self-flushing toilets lined with sanitary seat covers that rotate between uses, fresh bouquets of flowers, classical music and two attendants at all times who mop and shine until everything gleams.
But even that isn’t good enough: For those who have to go, it is about to get a whole lot nicer.
When the bathroom reopens this month after a $280,000 makeover, it will have sleek Toto toilets and fixtures, wall tiles in warm, earthy shades to reflect the trees outside and a modern air-conditioning system for the dog days of summer. The attendants, fresh flowers and seat covers will all return. And for the first time, original artwork depicting Bryant Park will be displayed, selected from the park’s collection of 225 works by painters-in-residence.
“I’m going to come here more,” said Will Chen, 30, a messenger who uses the bathroom once a week. “I thought it was already good enough and now they’re going to make it even better? I may live here.”
[PHOTOS: A rendering of the new design. The bathrooms feature fresh flowers and classical music. And hands-free faucets. Credit Bryant Park Corporation]
The bathroom is one of a pair of compact buildings tucked behind the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue; the other has been converted into a park office and storage area. Designed as a public comfort station as part of the library, which opened in 1911, the bathroom was closed in later decades as the park descended into a blighted eyesore, a place best avoided that was overrun with drug dealers and criminals. Dust and pieces of plasterboard covered the bathroom floor.
“It was a total wreck,” recalled Dan Biederman, the president of the Bryant Park Corporation, a nonprofit that manages the park.
In rebuilding the bathroom, Mr. Biederman said, his inspiration was Brooke Astor, the grande dame of New York society. After all, she was indirectly responsible for saving it: Mr. Biederman said he had been told that in 1979, Mrs. Astor, then 77 and a member of the library’s board of trustees, was on her way into the library for a meeting when she said a “hooligan” approached her on the front terrace and tried to sell her drugs. She complained to her friend David Rockefeller that the area needed to be cleaned up. Mr. Rockefeller helped secure the financial support to make it happen.
“Mrs. Astor was in my mind,” said Mr. Biederman, who envisioned the bathroom as a powder room in a country estate. “Anybody from homeless people to Mrs. Astor could use it.”
The upkeep of the bathroom runs to $271,000 annually, which includes $27,000 for 14,040 industrial-size rolls of single-ply toilet paper and $14,160 for flower deliveries. The bathroom attendants earn between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. The city-owned park is supported entirely through private revenue from a variety of sources, including corporate sponsorships.
It has become a popular pit stop for tourists, workers and residents alike. Average daily bathroom use has soared to 3,266 people in 2016 from 1,818 in 2013, according to park data. Lines can grow to 40 people or more, with the wait on the women’s side stretching to 15 to 20 minutes.
“Sometimes I wonder how they can hold it that long,” said Ronald Lynch, 63, a bathroom attendant for seven years.
Mr. Lynch has even spotted celebrities like the comedian Chris Rock in the bathroom alongside the regulars who are so appreciative that they try to slip him tips, he said. When he turns them down because tips are not allowed under park policy, they return with a cup of coffee or a souvenir T-shirt for him.
The bathroom cannot be expanded because the exterior of the building, which has been designated a landmark, has to be preserved, park managers said. Inside, the men’s and women’s sides were previously flipped to squeeze in a third toilet for women (the men have two).
Instead, park managers have sought to make the bathroom experience one worth waiting for.
Any change — even to the playlist of classical music — is discussed at length at staff meetings. Park managers have convened focus groups on the bathroom. After women said they preferred not to have to touch anything, hands-free faucets and driers and self-flushing toilets were introduced. Park managers have also dispatched scouts to luxury hotels and restaurants, including the St. Regis, the Waldorf Astoria, the Plaza and Morimoto restaurant, to check out the competition.
Such attention to detail has not been lost on parkgoers. Emily Gilas, 22, a nanny, said it was comforting to know there was such a nice bathroom just steps away. “It’s very important when you’re walking around,” she said. “There’s a Starbucks on every corner, but those bathrooms are pretty gross.”
From time to time, there has been work to update the Bryant Park bathroom, which reopened in the early 1990s. The current renovation is the most extensive yet and will help make it more efficient and resistant to wear-and-tear, park managers said. Soap dispensers were selected, in part, by how fast they dispensed liquid, and hand driers by how quiet they were — so as not to drown out the music. Ceramic tiles were replaced with more durable porcelain tiles. Larger tiles were used to reduce the amount of grout between them, and the scrubbing needed to keep them clean.
The park partnered with Toto, a luxury brand whose products can be found in the bathrooms of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Mandarin Oriental, among other places. Toto provided high-efficiency toilets, faucets, urinals, wash basins and hand driers.
Before closing the bathroom at the end of February for the renovation, park managers asked nearby stores if park visitors could use their bathrooms. Most refused. So the park installed a row of four portable toilets. To make them more palatable, park workers built an L-shaped wall to partly hide them, then covered the wall with a digital print of ivy that cost $1,950. Bathroom attendants wipe down the portable toilets between uses.
That was still not enough to entice more discriminating bathroom users. Kelli Plevyak, 42, who was recently visiting from California with her 3-year-old daughter, Addie, said that as a rule, she refused to use portable toilets “unless it’s a dire emergency.” She had taken Addie to a less-than-sparkling bathroom in Central Park and cringed when her daughter’s head bumped the toilet and her skirt brushed the floor.
“When you’re in a bathroom, it’s almost impossible to keep them from touching surfaces you would rather them not touch,” she said.
But Ms. Plevyak said she was willing to try Bryant Park’s renovated bathroom when they returned to the city this summer. “That’s fantastic they put so much effort into it,” she said.
Ignacio Ciocchini, the park’s vice president for design, said that having a nice bathroom — even a temporary one — was an invitation to stay longer in the park. “We always want people in Bryant Park to feel as comfortable as in their living room,” he said.
Mr. Ciocchini recalled that several years ago he overheard two women talking excitedly to their friends upon returning from a trip to the bathroom. They even dragged their friends over for a look.
“You would have thought they were talking about a sculpture,” he said. “But they were talking about a public bathroom."
The FPA SCHOLARSHIP FUND is now accepting applications for the 2017 FPA Scholarship Awards from foreign students currently enrolled in a graduate journalism program in the United States of America.
Scholarship awards will be presented in two categories: print and multi-media. Applications will be adjudicated on the response to an Op-Ed question. A minimum of three cash scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 (USD) will be awarded.
Newsgeist brings the fake news debate to Latin America
by Elisa Tinsley
It seems like only yesterday that journalists were talking about big data, live-streaming and 360° video. Now the buzzwords are “fake news” and “alternative facts.” The deliberate dissemination of misinformation partnered with attacks on the reliability of news media has shaken the political and journalistic landscapes in the United States – and globally.
In light of this new reality, the credibility and future of the news media was a major topic at the inaugural Newsgeist LatAm unconference organized by Google and held in São Paulo, March 10-12. More than 150 journalists, technologists, media innovators and journalism academics from across Latin and North America participated in the invitation-only event designed to “reimagine the future of the news.”
Under the collaborative format, participants suggested topics and questions to focus on during the two-day unconference. A question proposed for one of the opening sessions was, “What is the role of Google (and other platforms) in fake news?” Among the key issues raised was whether machines and algorithms can reliably detect fake news and alert users/readers.
Participants from the tech community pointed out that the veracity of information remains a subjective exercise. Filtering for fake news depends on individual preferences and settings. A user may select information or belong to groups that share what others might consider “fake news.” Search engines and algorithms can only predict and respond to what the data say users want to see – whether the sorting is done on a news site, social media or both.
Since machines will only do what people program them to do, reps from tech pointed out that it’s unfair to blame the messengers – the systems that deliver information. The onus, some suggested, is on journalists to find a way to help users/readers critically assess information. One commented, “It’s not our job to play editorial god.”
Aron Pilhofer, a professor of journalism innovation at Temple University and former executive editor of digital for The Guardian, agreed that news media need to help audiences understand the difference between verified fact and fake information. He commented that if readers can’t figure out what is opinion and what is news, “how the hell can Google know the difference?”
That said, there was general agreement that everyone – technology companies, journalists, educators, and even advertisers (see CUNY professor Jeff Jarvis’ comments at the Guardian Media Changing Summit on March 15) – should pitch in address the issue of fake news. That already is happening. Some examples:
The Facebook Journalism Project, which includes “continuing efforts to curb news hoaxes,” is designed to support journalism and news literacy, and serve as a hub for journalists and publishers to learn and share.
The Trust Project, supported by craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Google, is exploring “how journalism can stand out from the chaotic crowd and signal its trustworthiness.”
The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is launching TruthBuzz: The Viral Fact-Checking Contest. Supported by the Craig Newmark Foundation, it’s a global challenge to invent new ways to help verified facts reach the widest possible audience. Set to launch in April, ICFJ will accept entries in multiple languages. The Knight Prototype Fund is calling for ideas that answer the question, “How might we improve the flow of accurate information?” U.S.-based technologists, journalists, designers, teachers, researchers and others are invited to submit early-stage ideas to improve the flow of accurate information. The Fund will award up to US$1 million in grants with an average size of about US$50,000.
At the NewsGeist session on fake news, most acknowledged that disinformation isn’t new. What has changed is how it is disseminated and how fast it can reach audiences. “The only thing surprising about fake news,” said one participant, “is that it surprised anyone.”
Elisa Tinsley is deputy vice president of programs at the International Center for Journalists. ... See MoreSee Less
September 7th, a group of FPA officers met a delegation of journalists from Shanghai on a study tour of the USA to explain the history and work of the Association to them - and to compare notes on journalism on both ends of the Pacific.
President David Michaels, VP Ian Williams and Executive Committee member Ksenia Baygarova backed up Tony Morenzi explaining some of the things that the FPA does, including the FPA Scholarship Fund. ... See MoreSee Less
September 7th, a group of FPA officers met a delegation of journalists from Shanghai on a study tour of the USA to explain the history and work of the Association to them - and to compare notes on jou...
FPA member Sam Summerlin died on Feb. 27, 2017, in Carlsbad, CA, due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease.
A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Sam spent several years in Mexico City with his family and spoke fluent Spanish. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with Phi Beta Kappa honors, and then joined the Associated Press. When the Korean War broke out, he became the youngest foreign correspondent in that conflict. In 1954 he became AP bureau chief in Cuba and the following year in Argentina. He was named AP bureau chief in New Orleans in 1963 and directed coverage of the civil rights movement for two years. In 1965, he was promoted to New York, where he served as Deputy News Editor for AP World Services. Summerlin joined the New York Times Company in 1975, and, for 12 years served as president and chair of the Times' News Service and Syndicate.
Summerlin took early retirement from the New York Times Company to pursue an entrepreneurial role in the emerging information/communications revolution. He created two companies: Hollywood Stars, Inc., which produced video programs, and SAGA Agency, Inc., which produced celebrity still photos, interviews and related news information. Hollywood Stars completed more than 800 television shows and had a library of more than 6,000 interviews with major movie stars. Its news segments were broadcast in the U.S. and to over 80 other countries. The company also produced TV specials about movie stars for the Biography series on the A&E Network; Century of Cinema for the Disney Channel; Hollywood's Magic Night, an annual preview of the Oscars; documentaries on the Olympics, and the Discovery Channel’s Portraits of Power.
Summerlin was the author or co-author of four books, including The China Cloud (1968), which served as the basis for a CBS 60 Minutes program. Summerlin was a recipient of Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Journalism Award for outstanding coverage of Latin America and is in the University of North Carolina Journalism School’s Hall of Fame. He was the first correspondent to flash the news that the Korean War had ended, and was the journalist who told Ernest Hemingway that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Sam Summerlin, whose wife Cynthia died in 2000, is survived by two children, Claire Slattery of Encinitas, CA, and Thomas A. Summerlin of Arlington, VA, and three grandchildren, Barrett, Berkley, and Thomas Andrew Kai Summerlin.
If any member has photos of Sam, or wishes to "pen" any special memories or contribute any anecdotes about Sam, please send to the FPA and they will be forwarded to his family.
Please read additional remarks and view historic photos of Sam on the FPA's FaceBook page being posted in the next few days.
Periodically, it is important to remind ourselves of some fundamental aspects of our professional undertakings.
Although originally published in 2001, it remains relevant!
Principles of Journalism
In 1997, an organization then administered by Project for Excellence in Journalism, ("PEJ"), the Committee of Concerned Journalists, ("CCJ"), began a national conversation among citizens and news people to identify and clarify the principles that underlie journalism. After four years of research, including 20 public forums around the country, a reading of journalism history, a national survey of journalists, and more, the group released a Statement of Shared Purpose that identified nine principles. These became the basis for The Elements of Journalism, the book by PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel and CCJ Chairman and PEJ Senior Counselor Bill Kovach. Here are those principles, as outlined in the original Statement of Shared Purpose.
A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
After extended examination by journalists themselves of the character of journalism at the end of the twentieth century, we offer this common understanding of what defines our work. The central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society.
This encompasses myriad roles helping define community, creating common language and common knowledge, identifying a community’s goals, heroes and villains, and pushing people beyond complacency. This purpose also involves other requirements, such as being entertaining, serving as watchdog and offering voice to the voiceless.
Over time journalists have developed nine core principles to meet the task. They comprise what might be described as the theory of journalism.
1. JOURNALISM’S FIRST OBLIGATION IS TO THE TRUTH Democracy depends on citizens having reliable, accurate facts put in a meaningful context. Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can and must pursue it in a practical sense. This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation. Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods, so audiences can make their own assessment of the information. Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built: context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever-greater flow of data, they have more need not less for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.
2. ITS FIRST LOYALTY IS TO CITIZENS While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization’s credibility; the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers. Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them. The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture–not exploit their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.
3. ITS ESSENCE IS DISCIPLINE OF VERIFICATION Journalists rely on a professional discipline for verifying information. When the concept of objectivity originally evolved, it did not imply that journalists are free of bias. It called, rather, for a consistent method of testing information – a transparent approach to evidence – precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their work. The method is objective; not the journalist. Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or asking various sides for comment, all signal such standards. This discipline of verification is what separates journalism from other modes of communication, such as propaganda, fiction or entertainment. However, the need for professional method is not always fully recognized or refined. While journalism has developed various techniques for determining facts, for instance, it has done less to develop a system for testing the reliability of journalistic interpretation.
4. ITS PRACTITIONERS MUST MAINTAIN AN INDEPENDENCE FROM THOSE THEY COVER Independence is an underlying requirement of journalism, a cornerstone of its reliability. Independence of spirit and mind, rather than neutrality, is the principle journalists must keep in focus. While editorialists and commentators are not neutral, the source of their credibility is still their accuracy, intellectual fairness and ability to inform, not their devotion to a certain group or outcome. In our independence, however, we must avoid any tendency to stray into arrogance, elitism, isolation or nihilism.
5. IT MUST SERVE AS AN INDEPENDENT MONITOR OF POWER Journalism has an unusual capacity to serve as watchdog over those whose power and position most affect citizens. The Founders recognized this to be a rampart against despotism when they ensured an independent press; courts have affirmed it; citizens rely on it. As journalists, we have an obligation to protect this watchdog freedom by not demeaning it in frivolous use or exploiting it for commercial gain.
6. IT MUST PROVIDE A FORUM FOR PUBLIC CRITICISM AND COMPROMISE The news media are the common carriers of public discussion, and this responsibility forms a basis for our special privileges. This discussion serves society best when it is informed by facts rather than prejudice and supposition. It also should strive to fairly represent the varied viewpoints and interests in society, and to place them in context rather than highlight only the conflicting fringes of debate. Accuracy and truthfulness require that as framers of the public discussion we not neglect the points of common ground where problem solving occurs.
7. IT MUST STRIVE TO MAKE THE SIGNIFICANT INTERESTING AND RELEVANT Journalism is storytelling with a purpose. It should do more than gather an audience or catalogue the important. For its own survival, it must balance what readers know they want with what they cannot anticipate but need. In short, it must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant. The effectiveness of a piece of journalism is measured both by how much a work engages its audience and enlightens it. This means journalists must continually ask what information has most value to citizens and in what form. While journalism should reach beyond such topics as government and public safety, a journalism overwhelmed by trivia and false significance ultimately engenders a trivial society.
8. IT MUST KEEP THE NEWS COMPREHENSIVE AND PROPORTIONAL Keeping news in proportion and not leaving important things out are also cornerstones of truthfulness. Journalism is a form of cartography: it creates a map for citizens to navigate society. Inflating events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping or being disproportionately negative all make a less reliable map. The map also should include news of all our communities, not just those with attractive demographics. This is best achieved by newsrooms with a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. The map is only an analogy; proportion and comprehensiveness are subjective, yet their elusiveness does not lessen their significance.
9. ITS PRACTITIONERS MUST BE ALLOWED TO EXERCISE THEIR PERSONAL CONSCIENCE Every journalist must have a personal sense of ethics and responsibility–a moral compass. Each of us must be willing, if fairness and accuracy require, to voice differences with our colleagues, whether in the newsroom or the executive suite. News organizations do well to nurture this independence by encouraging individuals to speak their minds. This stimulates the intellectual diversity necessary to understand and accurately cover an increasingly diverse society. It is this diversity of minds and voices, not just numbers, that matters. ... See MoreSee Less
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
ATTRIBUTION: THEODORE ROOSEVELT, “Lincoln and Free Speech,” The Great Adventure (vol. 19 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed.), chapter 7, p. 289 (1926).
Posted by David P. Michaels Twitter: DPMichaelsNYC FaceBook: DavidPhillipMichaels ... See MoreSee Less