Friday, February 6, 2009

A Revolutionary Principle

I was rummaging around in the bowels of our basement looking for something of which my memory has since failed. But, here is what I extracted from that dark dungeon-like space. I discovered a college text book on a Journalism course taken by my wife when she attended college in 1959-1960. It is entitled "Interpretative Reporting", Third Edition copywright 1957, and I immediately thought that this might just be a great book to help in composing a blog topic. I need all the help I can get!

On page 8 I read a very interesting heading entitled "Objectivity As The Answer". Now that rare commodity in news reporting should immediately grab one’s attention in this day and age. I will quote a brief paragraph after a short set-up.

Newbold Noyes Jr., national news editor of the Washington (DC) Evening Star received an honor medal for distinguished service in journalism in 1953 at the University of Missouri. His grandfather, Frank Noyes, was one who helped found the modern Associated Press in 1900. His acceptance remarks were published in the Editor and Publisher on May 9, 1953. He first explained how his grandfather had to overcome...the "personal approach" to reporting in that reporters were more concerned with "telling people off" than "telling people the truth" His grandfather’s solution was a thing considered in the 1900’s as a revolutionary principle: "Objectivity". Here now is what I consider a remarkable paragraph:

"The Associated Press realized at the start that it couldn’t possibly cater to the opinion whims of all the different publishers receiving its service. It set out to correct the situation by instituting the principle and practice of "objective" news coverage. Gradually, as time went by, this revolutionary principle became accepted as the Number 1 item in the creed of the responsible press all over the country. It wholly changed the face of the newspaper world, and it set the pattern for a full half-century of journalistic growth and progress." (emphasis and italics—mine)

Now.......wouldn’t you like to read that paragraph to today's newsmen and women or many of the other reporters that are supposed to be the watchdogs of those running our government.

(Used by permission of cartoonist Jake Fuller)
(click cartoon to enlarge)

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