In Defense of Journalism as a Public Trust. (Paying for the Next News)

Nieman Reports, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

In Defense of Journalism as a Public Trust. (Paying for the Next News)


In March, journalists from 24 countries and the European Union at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria discussed the impact market pressures are having on the quality of journalism. At the conclusion of the meeting, a statement was written and agreed to by those who participated. This statement follows:

I. Preamble

This statement expresses the concerns of international journalists and supporters of journalism attending the Salzburg Seminar Session 396, March 20-27, 2002, in Salzburg, Austria. The topic: The decline of the news media's role as a public trust and the effects of that phenomenon on its obligations to civil society. Our discussions revealed that journalists and their supporters from many countries share a strong conviction that market pressures are undermining the quality of journalism; specifically, as news organizations preserve high profit levels by reducing newsgathering resources and neglecting journalism in the public interest, the fundamental role of the press to inform and empower citizens is endangered. These concerns are the motivation for this statement, which we hope will prompt further consideration, discussion and action around the world.

A free and independent press is essential to human liberty. No people can remain sovereign without a vigorous press that reports the news, examines critical issues, and encourages a robust exchange of ideas. In recognition of the vital role of the press in society, many countries extend it special legal protections under constitutions or legislatively enacted statutes. These protections are unique, for they safeguard print, broadcast and online media organizations against government interference and censorship.

Where this special status has been accorded the press, news organizations have been held to a high standard of public service and public trust. Over time, this ideal has become a bedrock of journalism, an enduring tradition by which a free press has been a powerful force for progress and informed citizen participation in society.

Historically, threats to press freedoms have been political in nature. At the start of the 21st century, however, a new kind of threat emerges that, if continued, will endanger the freedoms guaranteed to the press and put at risk the sovereignty of the citizens.

The nature of the press as a commercial enterprise has changed significantly. The emergence of media conglomerates and intense market competition are creating new organizational priorities in which profit growth is replacing public service as the principal mission. Sustaining profit growth often requires reducing the resources for newsgathering, thereby diminishing the role of the news media as a public trust.

Business priorities are encouraging the blending of news and entertainment as a strategy to build audiences and ratings. This trend, most noticeable worldwide in television, has led to a reduction in serious news coverage and may be responsible for a decline of public confidence in this medium as an essential source of information.

Finally, a shrinking commitment to both domestic and international news means that news organizations are missing opportunities to connect people and ideas globally at the very time technology has made such connections increasingly possible.

This international group of journalists and supporters of press freedom calls on the leaders of news organizations worldwide to recognize the need for a wiser balance between business goals and public service responsibilities and to reaffirm their commitment to journalism and the role of a free press in sustaining human liberty. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Defense of Journalism as a Public Trust. (Paying for the Next News)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.