The Tasks in Creating a New Journalism

Delli Carpini, Michael X.
December 2004
Nieman Reports;Winter2004, Vol. 58 Issue 4, p61
This article reflects on the image of modern journalism in the U.S. The journalism profession is in order. Too often journalists fail to live up to their professed standards. There is confusion, too, between the practice of only reporting what is said and the fundamental goal of uncovering the truth. Add to this the cynical and strategic ways in which elections and politics are covered. For journalism to claim its role in democracy, it must walk the talk. Journalism remains true to its core mission, while acknowledging that it can be accomplished in many ways. Straight reporting of facts is essential, but coverage can also include insightful commentary, debate, humor and opinion. The test should be journalists' effective communication of some sense of the truth about important topics. Journalism expands its watchdog function to include monitoring alternate sources of public information. Citizens need help in sorting through the complexities of civic life, but also in navigating the new media environment. Regular assessments are needed, not only of one's own news organization's performance, but also of others, including cable talk shows, Web sites, blogs, even books and politically relevant entertainment genres.


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