Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The speech every journalist needs to read

The speech every journalist needs to read

Marty Baron, the editor of the Boston Globe, hit a home run with this recent speech in accepting a First Amendment award in Boston. I hope that anyone who cares about the future of journalism -- including would-be buyers of the Daily News and Inquirer -- will read it. (H/T Romenesko). There's some good stuff about media coverage of the war in Iraq that dovetails with what I've been saying here since Day One at Attytood, but I think the most important part is highlighted by media critic Dan Kennedy:

The greatest danger to a vigorous press today, however, comes from ourselves.

This is a moment in American history when the press has been made a fat target. The press is routinely belittled, badgered, harassed, disparaged, demonized, and subjected to acts of intimidation from all corners — through words and actions, including boycotts, threats of cancellations (or defunding, in the case of public broadcasting), and even surreptitious taping, later subjected to selective, deceitful editing. Our independence — simply posing legitimate questions — is seen as an obstacle to what our critics consider a righteous moral, ideological, political, or business agenda. In some instances, they have deployed scorched-earth tactics against us in hopes of dealing a crippling blow.

In this environment, too many news organizations are holding back, out of fear — fear that we will be saddled with an uncomfortable political label, fear that we will be accused of bias, fear that we will be portrayed as negative, fear that we will lose customers, fear that advertisers will run from us, fear that we will be assailed as anti-this or anti-that, fear that we will offend someone, anyone. Fear, in short, that our weakened financial condition will be made weaker because we did something strong and right, because we simply told the truth and told it straight.

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