Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Old Press Hand on The Rio Grande
With non gardening and cooking time currently augmented with fascinating old texts, I thought it appropriate, in light of the journo-endtimes band competition between Tony Snow and Bob Schieffer as gleefully described by morning TV this AM, to consult my ancient 2nd Edition copy of The Complete Reporter by Julian Harriss and Stanley Johnson published by The MacMillian Company in 1965.
The book, a text for both high school and college classes attended by your humble blogger, is, sadly today, a time capsule of journalism as it was once practiced in these United States.
The book is still available.
Amazon.com has The Complete Reporter’s 7th Edition available for a stunning $87 (with free super saver shipping!!!!).
The 7th Edition, no doubt, explains to eager young students all the ethical elements that come into play when a major news player’s Western Swing band competes with the Presidential Press Secretary’s Honky Tonk band in a public space for $60 a pop.
My puny, pre-digital, 2nd Edition, however, does offer succinct advice:
The reporter cannot lose sight of the fact that the public welfare may be involved in much that he writes…the public is dependent directly upon him for its knowledge of affairs by means of which, individually and in the mass, it must solve its problems. Careless, slipshod, inaccurate or biased reporting is inexcusable under this responsibility.
And, from the famous journalism text’s proposed Ethical Code for an imaginary news operation, we have Item C:
The [news entity] should report news and not attempt to “make” news.
Exaggeration of a minor incident “to write a better story” is making news. So is the “publicity stunt” planned by the reporter or within the knowledge of the reporter.
Oh, Bob, first you knife poor innocent little Katie (blink, blink!) but now you are worshipping the pagan idol of publicity with a known hound.
Modified Image: CBS, CNN, BuckleImpressions.ca