The other day, I attended an industry-related event at the National Press Club here in Washington, D.C. I attend events there regularly, and every good journalist in D.C worth his/her salt knows about the free taco bar happy our on Fridays.
But I digress. As I was waiting for my elevator, I noticed an engraved plate with the Journalists Creed. In all the years I've been going to the Press Club, I never noticed it was there. The creed was written by Walter Williams, the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism.
We have all been bombarded with the sea change that journalism is currently experiencing, but the creed (printed below) reminded me of one thing -- that despite all the changes, our chosen career is still alive and relevant in today's world. The only real change is how our content is delivered.
As NABJ members continue to practice their journalism careers, it's good that we have this reminder of why we chose the career in the first place.
I believe in the profession of journalism.
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.
I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
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.
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.
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.