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Unwritten Responsibilities

"There are no First Amendment responsibilities. The press doesn’t have to be fair
in order to be free."
~page 71 of Kenneth A. Paulson's "Fairness and the First Ammendment" in Robert J. Haiman's Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists

As Kenneth pointed out later in this chapter, Journalists may not have to earn the right to be free--they may not have responsibilities to uphold in order to maintain their freedom--but unfairness can in the long run cause their freedom to be limited. The responsibilities may not be written in stone, but it is common courtesy to respect others and try to be as fair as possible. This, of course, means representing any situation as accurately as possible. Isn't that what a reporter's job is, anyways? It seems as if fairness and journalism should go hand in hand. If the reporter does not represent the situation accurately, he/she isn't doing his/her job well. I know mistakes happen. That's just part of life. As stated earlier in this Best Practices book, when mistakes happen, the paper or news sources should simply acknowledge that it happened by publishing a correction.

Other Thoughts On Haiman 71-73

Comments (1)

Katie Vann:

Journalists do make mistakes, and sometimes the press causes negative effects. However, just because sometimes this occurs doesn't mean that the freedom of the press should become more limited. Negative consequences can occur with our other guaranteed freedoms, but we choose to not limit them. As you mentioned though, with every freedom there comes a responsibilty, so the press should keep fairness in mind. You made a great point in saying that in order to maintain that freedom, they should avoid situations where there could be questioning about the fairness of what was written.

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