Journalism: Newspapers and Journalists
“In the US constitution it is stated that the congress shall make no law abridging the
freedom of speech of the press. This puts forth the foundation of journalism in the
United States. The government and the press are 2 separate entities. The people who
wrote the 1st amendment understood that journalists are human beings and that they
can make mistakes. The press even though it is not perfect was to take on the job of
government critic with its responsibility to the citizens of America not to the
government. At the core of the way in which the press operates is independence.
Newspaper owners may support a particular party, but it is becoming more common
for a newspaper and its journalists to be totally independent in every way.
Unfortunately sometimes this is a goal to work towards and not a description which
shows the truth. Staff and the newspaper they represent should show freedom of
thought and action. A newspaper must not print stories for the sole purpose of
promoting people who support it. Journalists cannot receive money, holidays, or gifts
from special groups for favorable news coverage. If a newspaper were corrupt it
could not criticize the government for being corrupt. Sometimes things like a free
meal or sports tickets are acceptable though, but this is not practice written in stone.
There are not really any rewards for the type or amount of freedom that the press
enjoys, maybe devotion of the readers in trust. With freedom of the press a newspaper
can still report a story in the way it wished. However, it must still adhere to the laws
of libel. The basic idea is that there must be truth to what the newspaper prints and
the newspaper must be able to show that they are being truthful. It is common for a
newspaper to separate its ideas and beliefs from the objective presentation of truth.
The news is presented with sources identified when possible. It is only on the editorial
page that the newspaper gives its and other staff members or syndicated writers
personal opinions. For a newspaper to not sound one sided or closed minded to
others it often has a section devoted to letters that people write to the newspaper
about how the news is being reported and other versions of the truth if one or several
happen to exist. The newspapers reserve the right to edit as necessary so that there is
fair presentation. A newspaper must also be sure to remain responsible if it does make
a mistake. Correction should be printed in the same part of the newspaper all the time
so they are easier to be found. A newspaper must also know when to draw the line
when they have crossed the boundary of invading somebody’s private life. It is at this
point that the newspaper must look at what it is saying and doing and re-evaluate the
situation. Journalists must follow the same laws as does everybody else but must be
extremely enthusiastic in uncovering the truth. In doing this they become a type of
supervisor or watchdog. Newspapers must be careful of becoming caught up in
something called prizeman-ship, presenting stories in a certain way with the sole
purpose of the newspaper or the journalist winning a prize. This has happened before.
A journalist made up the story and ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize. In the end the
journalists revealed the truth and quit her job. The newspaper gave the award back
with great humiliation. It is okay for newspapers and journalists to receive prizes, but
they should be from people or groups who have no connection to the recipient and
they should be without the recipient knowing it. There is the temptation to exaggerate
the facts but this must always be avoided. Journalists must always remember this last
rule in being a journalist. Above all one must be aware of the possibility that he or
she might be wrong, that a mistake has been made. There can be many viewpoints
which distort the truth. Journalists must remember when an error is made there is
always somebody who is going to be hurt. It is for this that the truth must always be
found and never interpreted.”
1. What is the lecture mainly about?
A Freedom of speech and newspapers.
B Journalism and freedom of the press.
C How the media distorts the truth.
D The history of journalism.
2. According to the lecture, why is “prizemanship” mainly problematic?
A Journalists may distort the truth.
B Journalists can be invading some privacy.
C Newspapers feel humiliated when their journalists do not win the prize.
D The truth must always be found and never interpreted.