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  1. #1

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    Journalistic integrity

    What do other forum members understand by the term 'journalistic integrity'?

    I am understandably interested because of what I do for a living...

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)

  2. #2
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    So what do you so for a living ? Are you an Integritor ? :-)

    Well, all I know about "journalistic integrity" is that when I was writing tech articles about photography in a magazine, there was huge pressure from the importers (camera, other) to the Editor so that he would take care not to show their products to be "bad" in the tests. I was a good guy, though and things happened with my articles, sometimes. Like the once I did the test for Hasselblad's H-1 and wrote that it's an OK camera, but too pricey (compared it to the other 6x4,5s and to the Rollei 6008 that also takes a 6x4,5 back)... The importer wanted to kill me and stopped giving ads to the magazine for a long time... Well, as you can imagine the magazine kissed good-bye the journalistic integrity and I stopped (by my own free will) writing camera tests.

  3. #3

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    Dear George,

    That's my feeling too. Integrity is specific to the journalist. It consists of telling the truth as you see it -- and refusing to allow your material to be published if the editor is trying to make you lie in order to please the advertisers, publisher, or anyone else who doesn't agree with you.

    Magazines and newspapers have no inherent integrity: only what they can pass on from their journalists. An editor with integrity may decide to kill a story if it would be commercial suicide to run it, but will never change a story just to pander to people.

    Cheers,

    Roger

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    What do other forum members understand by the term 'journalistic integrity'?

    I am understandably interested because of what I do for a living...

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)

    'Journalistic integrity'?

    I had a beautiful, long answer that included everything on the topic. Let me try to crop it.

    I'm a business writer and I crop to present a wanted image. Editors want me to show that the emerging markets I cover need proper study or investments are basically doomed, but they also want me to show the opportunities for those who do their homework. It fits my basic message - Eastern Europe is worthwhile for those with a capacity for attention to detail.

    They don't want to know that I'm sure the Transport Minister I just interviewed is a regional hoodlum with blood on his hands and a need to dominate everyone to cover his Soviet-era psychological scars. So I crop out that part, important as it is.

    Judgement calls, such as 'that Holga is too expensive', 'that Holga is priced just right' or 'Lower Slobovia has too many problems to be a good investment site' is something I show as someone else's opinion, and I quote them. And if I can find a contrary opinion, I include it. Whether the topic is Azerbaijan or a employment for expats, or an anti-(name your favorite dictator here) news service, if there's a possible slant, I try to agree with the editor on the direction I'm taking before I start. It eliminates surprises, and sometimes is what convinces the editor to go ahead with the assignment.

    Just wait until I cover foreign trade in Belarus this summer!

    There's a difference between outright lies such as "The new for 2006 Burke & James D-Grover will always give you fantastic results" and showing a facet of a story, which involves editing to fit a complete picture into 1200 or 2000 words. I have turned down work that I thought was aggressively partisan.

    In the end, I try to hold to 'the truth and nothing but the truth (with opinions shown as such)' and leave 'the whole truth' for another day.
    The Kiev 88: Mamiya's key to success in Ukraine.

    Photography without film is like Macroeconomics without reading goat entrails, and look at the mess that got us into.

  5. #5

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    Dear Jim,

    Thanks for an excellent and illuminating reply. 'Facet' in a superb image of the nature of journalism as is 'the truth...' versus 'the whole truth'.

    Initially I was thinking that there's quite a difference between what you do and what George and I do, but then I reflected that financial investment and photography are at least as much matters of opinion as of fact. There's probably more opinion in finance!

    Cheers,

    Roger

  6. #6
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Roger

    Journalistic Integrity once meant telling the truth.

    It has no meaning today.

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  7. #7
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    I would take journalistic integrity to refer to respect. Repsect for jourmalism in that you don't abuse your position and leave your profession cleaner than when you got there, kinda like in camping. Respect for others. Your wife and kids just died at the hands of another and your being framed for it, do you want a papparazzi camera being jammed in YOUR face? And respect for yourself. 'Nough said there.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    Roger

    Journalistic Integrity once meant telling the truth.

    It has no meaning today.

    .
    If you could tell me when that time was, it would be news indeed. It wasn't:

    in 1932, when Walter Duranty won his Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Soviet Union, coverage which went on to deny the artificially engineered famine that killed millions of Ukrainians.

    in 1960's Vietnam, when Adam's photo of then-Saigon police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing the VC told only half of the truth - too much cropping below the photo, where the caption is.

    I don't have the OED available at this terminal - maybe someone else can tell me how old the term 'yellow journalism' is.

    It seems to me that there has pretty much always been a market for hack writers, as well as for dodgy construction companies, financial schemers and even crap photographers. They just don't stand the test of time and thus memory, unless they do something spectacularly awful.

    Not that Adams wasn't a good shooter, or Duranty unable to write. They both had talent, and both had reasons for doing what they did. That why might be beyond the scope of this thread, though.
    The Kiev 88: Mamiya's key to success in Ukraine.

    Photography without film is like Macroeconomics without reading goat entrails, and look at the mess that got us into.

  9. #9
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    Talking about manipulation and the press, this will take us ages...

    I think there is not much to add to what has already been written and said on the subject by authorities on the subject before us. There's an interesting site to visit: www.disinfo.com/site . Buy their first two books, "You are being lied to" and "Everything you know is wrong" and you'll find some interesting things (between some, but not many boring articles).

  10. #10

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    I think that journalistic integrity is very hard to come by. I believe that if I were to work as a reporter for a media outlet that was either of liberal or conservative philosophy, in their general outlook, that I woukd be well aware of that fact and that it would influence the way I chose to write my article.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

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