'I believe that the public journal is a public trust'

Dateline: Tue 17 Feb 2009

In the swirl of confusion and chaos that now characterize journalism comes Michael Fancher, a fellow at the Missouri School of Journalism who will lead a series of forums on whether journalists need "a new creed" or not.

Fancher, formerly an editor at the Seattle Times, is well versed in "The Journalist's Creed" written by Walter Williams iin 1914 and taught at the University of Missouri in Columbia, renown for its journalism programs.

So Fancher is asking a national question: does the creed need to be updated, as the business model for newspapers changes?

According to the PR News Channel, Fancher says, "It's ironic that Williams authored the Creed -- and launched the J-School concept -- to give dignity to the profession at a time when journalists were not held in high regard. He anticipated the difficulties that journalism must meet and sought to prepare its graduates to overcome them. Now the question is: should the Journalist's Creed be modified for the 21st Century?"

What a great topic. First, never having attending a real journalism school, I never knew there was a creed -- and I suspect many working reporters, editors, etc. don't know about it. It's pretty darn good, too. The concept that "the public journal is a public trust," from the creed, is a bedrock for democracy.

Secondly, the discussion, to be kicked off at the American Society of Newspaper Editors meeting in Chicago, will continue in four other cities this year.

Look for the original creed to appear here shortly. In the meantime, here's the link to the story about Fancher, with thanks to the reader who sent it this way:

http://www.prnewschannel.com/absolutenm/templates/?a=1224&z=4

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