Principles of American Journalism Ch8

In the final chapter of Principles of American Journalism, I thought it was interesting how the authors discussed Edward Snowden:

“Just as important, in leaking to journalists, Snowden was submitting the information to the verification process, the objective method of journalism. Doing so would enhance the credibility and therefore the power of the information as well as ensure that some sort of filtering of such highly sensitive information would take place” (Craft & Davis 209).

Although I remember the situation with Snowden leaking information, I never considered how Snowden chose to leak the information to journalists, rather than simply putting all the information online. Regardless of how you view the Snowden situation, I think the authors make a fair point that his decision shows that journalism still maintains credibility, even with the distrust of the media today. There is a ton of information available on the internet, and what makes journalists significant is their ability to sort through that information, verify it, and make the public aware of why that information is important. Without journalism, we would have an overload of information, but no one to verify its truthfulness or help us understand its significance.

Another quote from this chapter that I thought was interesting discussed objectivity:

“Rather than try to play the detached, neutral observer, an engaged, independent journalist lets the facts take her where they may, demands answers to questions sources would rather not answer, and presses the powerful for the truth” (228).

The authors brought up a good point that journalists are human, just like everyone else. It’s impossible for journalists to be completely objective and completely unbiased, but they can try their best to put those biases aside and use the process of journalism to guide them. Journalism is about gathering the facts, and letting those facts guide your story. With the Watergate situation, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein let the information they found guide them, and they had to take the stance with their story that President Nixon lied. It wasn’t that these journalists were biased against Nixon – they just found evidence to support that he lied, and wrote that story, which was the truth.

Journalism is unique because every story is different. It requires a different approach every time, but still relies on the basic principles and method to guide it. Journalism will always face criticism, but at its heart, it’s a profession dedicated to reporting the truth, whatever that truth may be.

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch8

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