Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Red Hot Election Shows Why Journalism Credibility Is Vital

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Red Hot Election Shows Why Journalism Credibility Is Vital

Article excerpt

It's a tense time as readers call to vent on the presidential election. Partisanship is the mood of the day. Each side is desperate to make points.

So it seems a good time to step back and search for wisdom about the business of news.

-- From Ted Koppel in Brill's Content magazine: "We are moving into an era of an anarchy of information, where information is going to be so ubiquitous, where there is going to be so much of it coming from so many different sources, that the consumer is going to be bewildered, befuddled, confused. And that consumer is going to be desperately looking around for journalists he can trust."

My comments: That means more credibility for mainstream newspapers like the Times-Union that print corrections, that have ethics codes and abide by them, that show sensitivity to victims of crime and that listen to the readers.

-- From Geneva Overholser, columnist, former Washington Post ombudsman and former newspaper editor, in the Columbia Journalism Review, commenting on journalists: "Too often it's clear that what we're protecting is not our principles, but our egos. Or our ability to get a story first. We're protecting ourselves. But the only way really to protect our credibility is to hold ourselves accountable to the public. After all, credibility isn't about what we think, it's about whether readers believe us."

My comments: Journalists don't act in concert in much of anything except when it's in their self-interest. That's where ethics comes in, the willingness to set aside short-term gain for long-term credibility.

-- From Arnold Palmer in his book, A Golfer's Life: "I can only recall a couple of incidents where reporters took what I regarded as unfair shots at me in print. I learned the value of cultivating friendships with these opinion makers by taking a genuine interest in their work and lives. …

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