Jim Lehrer’s Rules of Journalism
- Do nothing I cannot defend.*
- Do not distort, lie, slant, or hype.
- Do not falsify facts or make up quotes.
- Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.*
- Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.*
- Assume the viewer is as smart and caring and good a person as I am.*
- Assume the same about all people on whom I report.*
- Assume everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
- Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story mandates otherwise.*
- Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label them as such.*
- Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.*
- Do not broadcast profanity or the end result of violence unless it is an integral and necessary part of the story and/or crucial to understanding the story.
- Acknowledge that objectivity may be impossible but fairness never is.
- Journalists who are reckless with facts and reputations should be disciplined by their employers.
- My viewers have a right to know what principles guide my work and the process I use in their practice.
- I am not in the entertainment business.*
(via Kottke, who notes, “In his 2006 Harvard commencement address, Lehrer reduced that list to an essential nine items, marked with an * above.”)
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