The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect (New York: Crown Publishers, 2001) Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel offer the following basic principles of journalism:

  1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.
  2. Its first loyalty is to citizens.
  3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.
  4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
  5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
  6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
  7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
  8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
  9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

I think these are excellent. What do you think? Let me know!

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