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Thursday, December 08, 2005

And thank you for your retort (measuring bloggers by legacy journalistic standards) 

In which musings on the role of blogger-journalists morph (in the comments) into musings on the late David Rufkahr (a/k/a "Frank Bartles"), originally inspired by tired musings on the "debate" over press releases, which led to musings on the role of non-blogger-journalists. (Yes, you can rely on the Ontario Empoblog for dilettantism at its finest.)

So Below the Fold links to a Washington Post article (emphasis Gary's):

Bob Woodward apologized to The Washington Post yesterday for failing to reveal for more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of who disclosed her identity mushroomed into a national scandal....

"I apologized because I should have told him about this much sooner," Woodward, who testified in the CIA leak investigation Monday, said in an interview. "I explained in detail that I was trying to protect my sources. That's job number one in a case like this. . . .

"I hunkered down. I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed."

Below the Fold contrasts Woodward's behavior to The Journalist's Creed, originally written by Walter Williams (no, not that Walter Williams) of the University of Missouri. For my own amusement, and for the amusement of the ex journalists that frequent this blog, I wonder how well this "blogger journalists" exemplifies the high ideals expressed by Williams? Is a blogger a journalist? Is this blogger a journalist? (And for those of you who are not self-absorbed, try to decide if your local news anchor or radio talk show host meets these standards - if they should meet these standards.) Be prepared to open a can of worms, Pandora's box, or any other relevant or irrelevant cliche.

I believe in the profession of journalism.

Bearing in mind that blogging was not envisioned when this was written, I guess that I can say that I believe in the profession.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

Am I serving the public? Am I serving my God? Or am I serving myself? (I know I'm not serving my political party.)

I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

Well, I certainly don't exemplify THIS.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

Here we have to distinguish between a reporter of fact and a reporter of opinion. I often report multiple opinions on a particular story. I have been known to exaggerate. Does this mean that I am not a journalist? Probably. Ouch.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I heartily agree with the statement above, with the exception of the divulging of legal trade secrets and legal personal affairs. Is it "suppression of the news" to fail to report that one of my family members was a drug addict?

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one's own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another's instructions or another's dividends.

Sounds good, but my brain hurts and I still have to think through the implications of the bribery statement. (Is it bribery if you disclose your bias?)

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

How can one standard of "truth" be applied to three categories, two of which (advertising and editorial) are opinion? I know I'm sounding like Pontius Pilate or a secular humanist, but I think it's too much to ask that "This detergent gets your clothes whiter" and "The opposing political party is un-American" should meet the same standard as "The mayor offered jobs to his sex buddies."

I believe that the journalism which succeeds best -- and best deserves success -- fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today's world.

Well, I'm not always constructive, I'm not always careful, I'm not necessarily self-controlled or patient, and the clamor of the mob sways me at times. And I don't always promote international good will. And I probably don't do the other things listed above. But other than that, I'm an excellent example of a reputable blogger-journalist.

Other bloggers - how do you measure up?

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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