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I practice journalism in accordance with the following guidelines:
• 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 it 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 its understanding.
• 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.
Jim Lehrer (more quotes by Jim Lehrer or books by/about Jim Lehrer)
(1934-2020) American journalist, novelist, screenwriter, playwright
THE 1997 CATTO REPORT ON JOURNALISM AND SOCIETY, Jim Lehrer’s Rules of Journalism
Press, Media, Journalism, Honesty, Fairness, Privacy, Facts, Principle, Opinion, Entertainment