Monthly Archives: February 2012

Who Journalists Work For


“I don’t work for you. You’re paying my check, and I’m very pleased. But the truth of the matter is, I don’t work for you, and if it comes down to a question of loyalty, my loyalty will be to the person who turns on the television set…. When I made that position clear, [it was] never questioned.”  –Nick Clooney, a former newscaster in multiple cities

A journalist’s first loyalty is to citizens! AKA, you and me.

Does this happen?? Do journalists really write with someone like me in mind? Or rather is it for their job and how much money they will get?

Nick Clooney stated the job of a journalist: “One the importance of the journalist’s job is to report the abnormal events of the day and be the watchdog to find out when something goes wrong in our towns, cities, states, and nation.”

The question stemmed about a journalist’s motives when incentives were given by businesses to increase the success of a story. The book Elements of Journalism boldly stated, “America’s journalistic leaders had been transformed into businesspeople.”

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), agrees that the concept of news has been changing. Journalists have to make money, but their first loyalty must always remain with the consumer.  Certain newspapers have remained true to this philosophy, like the Los Angeles Times.

This article is a good example why the Los Angeles Times are trustworthy. They are aware of the issues and do something about it.

The incentive to write stories that pay, or the business side of journalism, can warp the relationship between citizen and newspeople.  It can twist stories to lean to a certain direction. For example, The Washington Times has an article that shows this problem. Sometimes the companies can try too hard to reach the public attention and wander from the journalism principles of truth and loyalty.

Either people try too hard and loose sight of what they were set out to do in the first place, or they never knew what they were even supposed to do. Journalists must find their purpose, the goal, their dedication–it is to the people.

Journalists need to be independent from the business side, but not be isolated from society either. Isolation causes journalist’s stories to grow in cynicism and stray towards a different, perhaps smaller audience.

The business triangle of Journalism brings in the three factors that make good journalism: The citizen at the top, the news organization on one point, and the advertiser (or customer) on the other point.

Journalism Triangle

Journalism Triangle

The 5 ways to preserve journalism:

1.  The owner/corporation must be committed to citizens first

2. Hire buisiness managers who also put citizens first

3. Set and communicate clear standards

4. Journalists have final say over news

5. Communicate clear standards to the public

Seems reasonable. I would believe this news organization.