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Good journalism v.s. Bad journalism

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Often, people come across bad journalism. It comes in numerous forms. Sometimes it is in the form of textbooks, television, and radio broadcasts. These stories are biased and untruthful. Often, lies are added to support the journalist’s opinion. Bad journalism is heavily opinionated and gives incorrect perceptions of things.

One of the traits of good journalism is the ability to state the facts directly without adding one’s opinion. In “Ten Ethical Principles for College Journalists”, the second principle instructs the young journalists to tell the truth. “Objective truth- like flawless beauty- is an illusive goal. Nonetheless, just as human beings pursue many aims that can never be fully achieved. It remains a worthy endeavor for journalists to commit themselves to trying to tell the truth.” (Ten Ethical Principles) Many times journalists just don’t find the truth good enough for their story. Instead, they try to twist the truth until it says what they want it to say and agrees with what they believe.

In a number of television commercials, they show images of naked, starving children in Africa and Asia. What many people fail to notice is that it’s been the same child for 10 years at the least. One would think the child had grown up or died from malnutrition by now. But the foundations that do these commercials will not tell you that a very little amount of the money donated actually goes to the children.

Edgar Allen Poe once summed up the idea of sensationalism in journalism in once of his short stories, Mystery of Marie Roget. “We should bare in mind that, in general, it is the object of our news-papers [This was written before the age of electronic journalism] rather to create a sensation – to make a point – than to further the cause of truth. The latter end is only pursued when it seems coincident with the former.” Many journalists write only what sounds good, not what is true. At the checkout lane in the grocery store, there are many magazines full of lies. Lies written for pure entertainment. There is no point in writing the stories except to fill people’s minds with useless garbage. Bad journalism is inexcusable; there is no need for it.

Sadly enough, good journalism is not always the most popular type journalism. Many journalists are pressured into writing what people want to hear and not what they need to hear. Robert Frost illustrated this in a poem he wrote, when he said,

” Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference.” (Frost, Road Not Taken)

Good journalism, as well as anything else that is moral and good, is not going to be popular most times. People are sensationalists; they have this natural need to invent drama around them. But there are some people who still like to hear the honest truth. That is what people need.

Good journalism is about neutralism, the ability to describe a situation in a way that will make the readers think for themselves and make a logical conclusion. Some things may not agree with a journalist’s opinion but it is a good journalist that would the state the truth, without bias.

Works Cited Page

Ten Ethical Principles for College Journalists

Social Harm Caused by Irresponsible Journalism

Colling, Alfred. Edgar Poe. Paris, Michel [1952]

Lentricchia, Frank. Robert Frost: A Bibliography, 1913-1974. Netuchen, N.J. Scarecrow Press, c1976

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