Chattanooga Times Free Press


“To give the news im­par­tially, with­out fear or fa­vor” (Adolph Ochs, 1858-1935)

- - Wal­ter Huss­man Jr. Pub­lisher Journalism

Im­par­tial­ity means re­port­ing, edit­ing, and de­liv­er­ing the news hon­estly, fairly, ob­jec­tively, and with­out per­sonal opin­ion or bias.

Cred­i­bil­ity is the great­est as­set of any news medium, and im­par­tial­ity is the great­est source of cred­i­bil­ity.

To pro­vide the most com­plete re­port, a news or­ga­ni­za­tion must not just cover the news, but un­cover it. It must fol­low the story wher­ever it leads, re­gard­less of any pre­con­ceived ideas on what might be most news­wor­thy.

The pur­suit of truth is a no­ble goal of jour­nal­ism. But the truth is not al­ways ap­par­ent or known im­me­di­ately. Jour­nal­ists’ role is there­fore not to de­ter­mine what they be­lieve at that time to be the truth and re­veal only that to their read­ers, but rather to re­port as com­pletely and im­par­tially as pos­si­ble all ver­i­fi­able facts so that read­ers can, based on their own knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence, de­ter­mine what they be­lieve to be the truth.

When a news­pa­per de­liv­ers both news and opin­ions, the im­par­tial­ity and cred­i­bil­ity of the news or­ga­ni­za­tion can be ques­tioned. To min­i­mize this as much as pos­si­ble there needs to be a sharp and clear dis­tinc­tion be­tween news and opin­ion, both to those pro­vid­ing and con­sum­ing the news.

“A news­pa­per has five con­stituen­cies, in­clud­ing first its read­ers, then ad­ver­tis­ers, then em­ploy­ees, then cred­i­tors, then share­hold­ers. As long as the news­pa­per keeps those con­stituen­cies in that or­der, es­pe­cially its read­ers first, all con­stituen­cies will be well served.”

( Wal­ter Huss­man, 1906-1988)

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