Honesty first

Published: Friday 30 April 2004


A Colorado State University study has found that journalists still continue to identify with the traditional watchdog role. Journalists were asked to rate the importance of various media role -- for example, avoiding stories with unverified content, investigating government claims and letting people express their views -- as well as to rank a set of values according to their perceived importance of journalistic work. As many as 355 journalists from 239 newspapers were asked to respond to a questionnaire.

Respondents for the study, Personal and Professional Dimensions of News Work: Exploring the Link Between Journalists' Values and Roles, ranged from new reporters to veteran journalists. The profile of journalism values that emerged from the survey placed strong emphasis on ethical and morality-oriented concepts; honesty was regarded as the most important necessities for a scribe. Cheerfulness and obedience were among the values regarded as least significant. The study found that newsroom socialisation had little influence on journalistic values. Rather, personal beliefs, family influences and the cultural environment play more significant roles in moulding journalistic values and ethics.

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