BTW - I'm not hating people as much this week.
I'm preparing now (actually I'm not, I'm blogging) but soon I'll start packing and getting ready to go spend 4 days in Columbia. I'm going to the big 2008 Centennial/Dedication for the JSchool at the University of Missouri. MU's JSchool was the FIRST in the world, and hands down, the best. (Oh yes, I'm proud and not afraid to be one of THOSE MU people. I've earned it baby.)And they've just added on this huge building, called the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and will dedicate it this Friday in a big ceremony. http://rji.missouri.edu/
So .. JSchool alum from all over and community leaders and just fans of the school are converging on campus this week for a huge event. It's a big damn deal.(http://journalism.missouri.edu/2008/).
I'm looking at it as an opportunity to cleanse. We always call good journalism - the kind you learn at Mizzou -- journalism with a capital "J." Well, when you get out in the real world, try as you might, that J tends to shrink. It's been terribly ironic for me -- because I went out into the world and touted my "BIG J" and could usuallly bend folks toward me. I was quite righteous about it too! I often became the "ethics gauge" in the newsroom. But soon, you learn the economics of journalism...and having to give viewers want they want...and you "adjust" your values a bit. My "BIG J" is trampled on, dirty, and certainly not capitalized anymore. But it's not just me.
Have you noticed how certain networks are now considered the "conservative" one ... and the "liberal" one? I'm thinking of two cable networks in particular. What the heck? I thought journalism was "we report-- you decide" (not so, I guess for the network that uses that tagline.) You're not supposed to be able to tell if reporters or anchors "lean" a certain way. You're supposed to get objective coverage. But it's become glaringly evident this election. Even Saturday Night Live spoofs the ga-ga attitudes some "journalists" have toward a certain candidate. That's crazy! That's NOT journalism. Those folks need to be stripped of their jobs, tarred and feathered....or at least just called "analysts." They're NOT journalists.
Oh the shame. But there are people out there who still want to get it right. Or, who maybe, like me ... just need a "cleansing." I can still give the viewers what they want, and maintain ratings to keep us in business, and make sure I've lived within the standards of a journalist.
Wow. See. That's just how GOOD my JSchool is. I'm already cleansing -- and I haven't left my home yet. Just thinking about "from whence I came" is getting me back on track.
Yeah, I still believe.
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 make it so, an 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.
THE JOURNALIST'S CREED
--WALTER WILLIAMS, 1ST DEAN OF THE WORLD'S FIRST SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI 1908-1935