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[Review] The Responsibilities of Journalism

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Title : The Responsibilities of Journalism
Editor : Robert Schmuhl
Contributors : Elie Abel, Lisa Sowle Cahill, John G. Craig, Jr, Georgie Anne Geyer, Jeff Greenfield, Max Lerner, Robert J. McCloskey, Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C, Edwin Newman, Robert Schmuhl, Leonard Silk, John E. Swearingen, Rev. Oliver F. Williams, C.S.C.
Publisher : University of Notre Dame Press
Place : Notre Dame, Indiana, United States of America
Year : 1984

I learned early not to ask for what I wanted, for such requests only alertted the beleaguered kin. -Ben Hetch- (page 1)

There are only two rules of real newspapering: Get the story. Get it out. -Bill Granger- (page 14)

We in the news business help to provide the people with the information they need to frame their attitudes and to make, or at any rate to authorize or ratify, the decisions on which the well-being of the nation rests. -Edwin Newman- (page 19)

Because it has not been edited, you’re not getting only the highlights. This, of course, raises the question of editing. Most of what you see has been edited. Is that fair? -Edwin Newman- (page 23)

What is news at nine in the morning may not be a minute or two later, because of the other things that are happening. News is an accidental business. -Edwin Newman- (page 28)

Sometimes you cannot believe your eyes and ears. -Edwin Newman- (page 35)

The responsibility of the journalist is to be a journalist. To be competent, qualified journalist. -Edwin Newman- (page 38)

Media should try to present all significant viewpoints on public issues, including viewpoints that happen to be unpopular or in conflict with their own. -Elie Abel- (page 42)

Journalists need to worry about how to prevent such incidents, not whether they are right or wrong. -Jeff Greenfield- (page 49)

A reader or viewer cannot be persuaded to pay attention to anything outside of his own immediate interest. -Jeff Greenfield- (page 54)

In the absence of training in specialized areas-business, science, technology, defense, literature, the arts, medicine, law – the journalist finds himself forced into being a generalist. -Max Lerner- ( page 60)

The media have become the prime educational area for many, if not most, of out youngsters. -Max Lerner- (page 67)

The reporter needed honesty, accuracy, a good spirit, and a grand set of feet. -Georgie Anne Geyer- ( page 70)

We journalists were not just conveying the statements of the institutions of society; we were catapulted into a wholly new role. Arbiters of truth. -Georgie Anne Geyer- (page 72)

The tendency to crib under pressure of deadlines is understandable; there’s no excuse, however, for failing to credit another’s work. -Robert J. McCloskey- (page 82)

That is not to say that every journalist ought to be a specialist; we will need wonderful, enthusiastic, dedicated reporters whom we can turn to on any story, and we are still getting them. We need both specialists and generalists. -Leonard Silk- (page 88)

You cannot make human beings perfect, but you can post guidelines, ethical rules, and that we do. (page 90)

Business do love to make money and to see the value of their stock go up; so do newspaper. But one important difference is that publisher cant control their staffs. And if he can, it’s not a good newspaper. (page 92)

Without controversy, there can be no debate. Without debate, there can be no true freedom. In order to carry out a meaningful debate, the public must not only be aroused, but informed. And this can happen only when all the facts are laid on the table and all points of view are fully aired. -John E. Swearingen- (page 103)

The meanings dont come ready-made. You have to sweat for them.- Max Lerner- (page 117)

Presumably, investigative repoters are perpetually alert for situations of compromise. -Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C-(page 119)

Even when the citizens are public figures, responsible journalists will think twice before waiting potentially injurious stories. -Rev. Oliver F. William, C.S.C.- (page 125)

The journalist must not only be accurate, but also fair, and, especially, compassionate. In justice, the journalist must have a conscious care for the common good and asess the probable consequences of writing a story. -Rev. Oliver F. William, C.S.C.- (page 127)

Reporters who lose their independence as private contractors and become hired guns also lose their effectiveness.- John G. Craig, Jr.- (page 133)

This is gonna be my first-read Journalism book. I used to fall into novel when I decided to learn more about my subject and wandering around library. My eyes just could only catched such novel, short storiy or poem. But yeay! I finally could controled myself as I took this journalism book into my bag and brought it home.

Talking about this book, I have to warn you first that my knowledge about journalism now is like freckles as I just finished one book and haven’t even start my studies in the university. I’d be happier if you are going to share your thoughts. So let’s start…

1. Which one should we choose? The people’s right to know or a decent respect?

Journalist. What is our job? Wandering around places all over the world and gaining as much information to share through media? Are we just going to tell the truth because the people’s right to know? We’re helping them to know information. It’s interesting. We help people so that they could know anything by just sitting in front of the television, radio or newspaper instead of wandering the city just to know a little clue on something. But sometimes, the people’s right to know and a decent respect could attack each other. Easy to say, debatable.

For example, during a campaign time for the election of a new president, an investigative journalist accidentally saw something odd about one of the vice-president candidate. Like … having lunch with a suspicious man in the weekend, they looked like going to make a deal on something big. The following day, that journalist sought more information and things were going odder. He tried to talk to the suspicious man by phone but this man answered that how he spent his weekend was not the journalist’s business and accidentally, the vice-president candidate said that he would like to resign or even retired because of his healthy. It’s odd, right? The election time is almost going. So then, this journalist decided to talk to the editor in their newspaper about share or not share this information to the public. It hadn’t finished. This journalist needed more time to investigate. Should he share?

One more, about the popular celebrity in which every step he took always followed by the journalist. He needed time to be alone or with someone he loved but people, especially his fans wanted to know about this popular celebrity’s daily life. The journalist needed to do their duty too, by the way.

Journalists arent going to search for truth but telling the truth, to be honest. It is the relentless search for what can be known, not for what cannot be known. The meaning seems bias to me because to tell/show the people, we should find the real truth behind events. We certainly dont want to spread wrong news. I mean.. telling people based on our own prejudice. No, because we have responsibility and consequence. We should search, find and understand the whole story from every side because the people’s right to know. The whole, I say. But, what about a decent respect?

2. Do we need to edit?

“Because it has not been edited, you’re not getting only the highlights. This, of course, raises the question of editing. Most of what you see has been edited. Is that fair?” said Edwin Newman.

But see, while having a conversation, there is a moment we’re going to be sad, happy or angry depending on the topic we’re talking about. While the interviewee is angry, swearword could appears to the surface. If there is no editing, are those proper enough for the child? Moreover, such violation, gang fight, murder, mutilation and so on … are those proper enought to show?

Some people say, the journalist should cover the whole story and publish it all so there will be balanced. It’s like, when the queen was swearing but the media cut it off, the public wouldn’t know about how their real queen actually is …

More example, how we tell the people about a thief on a mansion while he is also a father in a family. If media is showing up the thief’s face to the public, how is his children feeling? I mean, this children is gonna get such bullying in his following life both in neighborhood or school while it’s not his own fault but his father’s. To avoid this kind of thing, some media choose to blur the thief’s face. But if it really so, how could we aware the people about this thief as if he hasn’t caught by the police. He could attack more people, anyone! It’s all about the people’s right to know too, by the way, and a decent respect.

3. Is it better to have more than one media in a district?

Of course. All people have adequate access to a truly free and representative press. Can you imagine no newspaper or just one local newspaper in a town? Each people has tendency. So does the media. How could it be?

For example, can you imagine if in a city, there is only one media managed by all men? All information that we get are from the man’s perspective. Though the journalist is always writing based on the event, it’s always be a time we have to choose whether this one or that one event we should write and share. Easy to say, while your friend and you are sitting on the big rock close to the beach in the evening, are you guys seeing/watching the same thing? I guess not. That’s why I think that every district should have more than one representative press.

4. Is it all about business?

“The enemy of truth-telling is careerism,” said Georgie Anne Geyer.

We know that all creation in this world have self interest and importance. That is business. I keep questioning myself, should we give people what they want to hear and read? Sometimes, press could become a marketing tool. They are afraid of loosing the customer if they put a boring or too complicated story on their tv shows or newspaper.

As a journalist, should we do our job depends on our salary? Its like for example… two different media know that we have really important information that another journalists dont have. That two different media are doing competition by offering us high salary.

Another condition is when the journalist get an untold story and going to write down on newspaper. The people who has business on that matter doesn’t want the story spread so he offers much money to the journalist. I ever heard that profesionalism is no matter you are pay a little or big, to someone who treat you personally polite or rude, be fair! But can we?

Let me tell you one more story in the condition of two president candidates who have their own media. I oftenly found that there will be a competition amongst them. They fight against each other by spreading a good information as much as they can about their selected-president. I mean, their own bosses. Sometimes, even looking for the bad side of their rival and sharing it to the public. It’s not fair if the opposite candidate doesn’t have media. Well, it isn’t fair too, if both of them are having their own media, actually. But I think …. there will always be one or two medias supporting just one candidate. At least, they have tendency. But though, there is always be an honest-media, a real media in this world… or an honest journalist.

Enough for now. I need to supply myself by eating more book so I can share more. See you in another chance and dont forget to drop your own thoughts about journalism world or media below! Thank you!


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