Tags: One | Reporter's | Opinion: | The | Art | Integrity

One Reporter's Opinion: The Art of Integrity

Friday, 17 May 2002 12:00 AM

What a trip it has been and continues to be as one nears his 88th birthday!

All of this comes in handy – this experience – when speaking to a group of budding young journalists. After relating moments spent with the giants of our industry: Sarnoff, Paley, H.V. Kaltenborn, John Gunther, Lowell Thomas, Winchell, Pearson, and dozens of others; coverage of every president since Herbert Hoover ... having known Dr. George Washington Carver, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, Damon Runyon, Ernest Hemingway, Quentin Reynolds, Dorothy Thompson, Rebecca West, Winston Churchill and every sports figure since the days of Jack Dempsey ... after all that and so much more and so many others, one gets around to answering an important question of budding young journalists: What are the important elements in the newsman's makeup?

Here are some of my thoughts: an insatiable curiosity, objectivity, perseverance - but most of all, INTEGRITY. If one has learned anything in these many years, it is that principles and ideals are lasting and all-important; that it is a newsperson's privilege – yes, the responsibility – to take an active stand on the issues that face us as a people and to nudge the public conscience; that a newsperson's responsibilities do not end with merely reporting the news; that a newsperson also has the duty to bring to the attention of his/her fellow citizens those inequities and inadequacies that plague our civilization.

It has always been this reporter's opinion that the responsibilities of a reporter-commentator extend beyond a parrot-like recitation of the day's events. It is our privilege and responsibility to take an active stand – to position ourselves on vital issues and to jog the public conscience.

It is a source of satisfaction to this reporter that we have never sat on the sidelines or indulged in wishy-washy attitudes where your best interests are concerned; never hesitated to look under a stinking garbage can; and never submitted to pressure or influence for the consideration of personal gain.

Back to that word INTEGRITY. If a reporter-commentator enjoys the plaudits of the multitude, fantastic acclaim and personal gain, but is lacking in personal integrity, then, indeed, he/she is a failure.

Integrity is the rallying point that builds courage when courage seems to fail – to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith – to create hope when hope seems forlorned ... because if a person has integrity, he/she stands in the face of adversity. Damn the insults! Scorn the detractors!

Perhaps Shakespeare said it best in the soliloquy: "To thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

It's been quite a trip! Thank you for the privileges I have known.

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What a trip it has been and continues to be as one nears his 88th birthday! All of this comes in handy - this experience - when speaking to a group of budding young journalists.After relating moments spent with the giants of our industry: Sarnoff, Paley, H.V....
One,Reporter's,Opinion:,The,Art,Integrity
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2002-00-17
Friday, 17 May 2002 12:00 AM
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