The Integrity of Journalism

The+Integrity+of+Journalism

Stephanie Dilworth, Opinions Editor

There are all sorts of stereotypes associated with different professions. Just to name a few: those who can’t do, teach, professional athletes are not intelligent, and lawyers are all cold-hearted liars. Journalists have long gone under such attacks. Take a drive and you’re bound to see a car sporting a “don’t trust the liberal media” bumper sticker.

Some critics of the media even claim that news stories are always biased due to the influence that powerful outside sources and sponsors of the paper are able to exert of newspapers. The recent Detroit Free Press scandal has certainly reinforced the idea that journalists tell very little of the truth. Detroit Free Press editor Jonathan Wolman forced staff reporter Scott Burgess to rewrite his review of the Chrysler 200 because an advertiser thought the review was too harsh.

In addition, many students and teachers complain that school newspapers are just PR for their school. Because school newspapers couldn’t exist without funding from the administration and all articles are subject to review by the administration, it is questionable how much is really being reported.

Yes, journalism has its faults. Like all occupations there are some instances when negative stereotypes are reinforced.  However, does that mean that we should throw out our radios, turn off our TV’s, and refuse to ever look at a newspaper again? We can’t just ignore the news because it would be a complete waste to go through life in such a total state of ignorance.

There are still some shining examples of integrity in the journalism world. For instance, Free Press writer Burgess quit after being forced to rewrite his article, New York Times writer Judith Miller went to jail for refusing to reveal the source of one of her articles to the government, and the legendary Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein went against the government to reveal the Watergate scandal.

Journalists, like all professionals, go into their field because it is what they love enough to dedicate their lives to it. Writers such as Euna Lee, the American journalist who was held captive in North Korea and the four New York Times reporters who are currently being held captive in Libya prove how far journalists are willing to go. Truly dedicated journalists put themselves in dangerous situations to get their stories because reporting is what they are willing to live and to die for. People do not have such passion for a career completely lacking in integrity or something that just gives them a paycheck.

While there will always be some outside influences and even some truths untold, journalism is still a worthy occupation. Even student papers reveal truths about the outside world and occasionally uncover issues within a school. No matter what the bumper stickers may say journalistic integrity still exists.