The Gospel of News Journalism

Outside of the occasional album cover, dog picture, and a bit of jocularity, I am currently posting mostly news on my Facebook page. By news, I mean information that has little or no commentary. I carefully choose my sources using the nearly thirty years of experience I have as a journalist in the mainstream print, radio, and television media.

I spend a considerable amount of time vetting information, researching, checking and double checking sources, and otherwise verifying that I am disseminating accurate information from reliable and trusted content providers, and strive to remain neutral on matters of partisan politics and religion in general.

I have dear friends and family who adhere to a wide variety of world views and ideologies who challenge me on a daily basis by providing their opinions on many topics, and include with their opinions links to websites and videos that, through my research, have proven to be anywhere from questionable to the outright dissemination of completely false information. This includes all manner of conspiracy theories.

They are absolutely entitled to their beliefs, opinions, and world views, and I am not in the habit of arguing with them. They remain friends and family, I value those relationships, and as long as they remain respectful and choose not to engage me with verbal assaults and insults, I will not allow our differences of opinions, no matter how strong, to dissolve those relationships.

However, I will not use my time line to promote their opinions, beliefs, or misinformation, as I believe it will compromise the level of integrity I am attempting to achieve with regard to the accurate, scientific, and factual presentation of information.

Why, you ask?

In my thirty-plus years as a journalist, the following has been my Gospel:

A news journalist is a reporter, and should not write opinion pieces or commentary unless they specifically state that what they are presenting is as such. A news journalist is expected to comply with a set of standards that reflect the reporting of news information with journalistic integrity.

Integrity in news journalism means the accurate reporting facts, the use of information from trusted, industry respected and reliable sources, and keeping personal opinion out of the story.

A news reporter should never use opinions or hearsay, never report unsubstantiated rumor or rely solely on unnamed sources unless the safety of that source may become compromised if their identity is made known. If such is the case, a reporter should always have additional corroborating information.

A news reporter should never seek out other media outlets for sole the purposes of confirmation bias.

When reporting on political issues, a reporter should remain neutral about the politician and present factual information about the topic only. If the topic involves the behavior of a politician, the reporter should refrain from personal attacks against the politician and focus on the facts, reporting only what the politician has done.

A reporter should never broad-brush an entire legitimate industry, political party, foundation, charity, or institution based on the acts or actions of an individual or individuals within who have acted improperly, illegally, or with incompetence.

A reporter should never use deceptive headlines to promote a desired agenda, or apply double standards.

There should never be demonstrations of hypocrisy, or the asking of ‘gotcha’ questions instead of pertinent questions.

There should never be an attempt to ‘shape’ the news into desired reporting.

I’ve long since blocked anyone from posting directly to my time line for this very reason. If you believe that my being an integral part of the mainstream media causes you duress, you can choose to not follow me. But insulting me and accusing me of all manner of horrible things isn’t going cause me to abandon the principles that I’ve spent a lifetime accruing. It will only result in me removing you from my social media accounts.

In the last month alone I’ve removed more than 100 people because of their behavior towards me, and these people span ideologies from the far left to the far right, and everywhere in between.

For the rest of you, I hope my efforts to bring information to you helps you sort things out a bit.

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