For my Journalism class we are going over some of the governing principles of journalism. If you missed the first principle you can read it here. Students are to read the following and answer the questions that follow to be sure that they understand the principle.
Its first loyalty is to citizens
While news organizations answer to many constituencies, including advertisers and shareholders, the journalists in those organizations must maintain allegiance to citizens and the larger public interest above any other if they are to provide the news without fear or favor. This commitment to citizens first is the basis of a news organization’s credibility, the implied covenant that tells the audience the coverage is not slanted for friends or advertisers. Commitment to citizens also means journalism should present a representative picture of all constituent groups in society. Ignoring certain citizens has the effect of disenfranchising them. The theory underlying the modern news industry has been the belief that credibility builds a broad and loyal audience, and that economic success follows in turn. In that regard, the business people in a news organization also must nurture–not exploit–their allegiance to the audience ahead of other considerations.
1. Who are some of the other groups that a journalist might feel an allegiance to?
2. What is the role of advertisers in journalism?
3. What does disenfranchising mean?
4. Why, in a democracy, should we be careful to represent all groups within our society?
5. What role does fear, or earning favor, play in the life of a journalist…and how does he balance that?