May 17th, 2006 12:06 EST
USINFO Webchat features veteran journalist Crocker Snow Jr.
Tradition, Training, Competition Essential for Balanced Reporting
Washington – The late journalist Edward R. Murrow represents the importance of integrity in journalism, Crocker Snow Jr., director of the Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, told a State Department hosted online discussion May 16.
Murrow demonstrated integrity to the subjects he addressed “in the face of commercial, political or other kinds of pressures,” said Snow.
The USINFO webchat focused on the current and future role of journalism in society, and featured discussions on Murrow’s role in shaping modern journalistic practices. (See related publication.)
Journalism is ultimately a reflection of the values of the society in which journalists operate, Snow said, and journalists should view themselves as acting in the public interest. However, “all too often in today's complicated media world, journalists become either celebrities or facilitators of agendas other than truth and honesty,” he said.
The keys to promoting balanced and enlightened journalism today, according to Snow, are tradition, training and competition.
Journalists like Murrow established traditions that define the role of the journalists in society, Snow said, and he cited the importance of professional schools that combine theories of journalism and practical experience, as well as professional training where journalists come together to discuss solutions to challenges face by journalists throughout the world today. (See related article.)
For example, Snow said that he is part of a group of editors from major U.S. and Arab media outlets that has met to discuss important issues including training, investigative reporting and overcoming cultural bias. These meetings are important because they “build up mutual professional understanding and, in the process, begin to address some of the root causes of the growing gulf between the U.S. and the Arab world, ” he said.
Finally, competition is very important in promoting balanced journalism, because ultimately the public will make informed decisions if they have access to the most relevant information on a subject, Snow said. “A media voice with all the commercial or political support in the world won't be able to grow and prosper” if competing media outlets are doing a better job at informing the public, Snow said. “Competition keeps editors, reporters, writers and most important [media] owners honest and on their toes.”
The transcript of Snow’s webchat is available on USINFO’s Webchat Station.
Snow's webchat is the fourth and final in a series marking World Press Freedom Day 2006. Please visit Webchat Station to view transcripts from previous journalism webchats with Oscar DeSoto, Marguerite Sullivan and Bob Edwards and to see upcoming webchats.
For more information, see Freedom of the Press.
Source: U.S. Dept of State