In late November 2012, Eugene Patterson, who died Saturday, prepared his thoughts about journalism in advance of a visit from an old friend. His edited reflections are reproduced here, direct from Patterson’s IBM Wheelwriter typewriter.
Journalists get to originate, validate and illuminate the real news if they carry forward the character of their calling.
How they make the good stuff pay will follow the quality as it always has. Technology’s shift of news to new money models still leaves the key to the vault lying in the gold cache of character. That character leaves journalists to prospect for truth.
Journalists breaking out of the wreckage of old news delivery ways carry in their bones known elements of the character which, in handling news, needs to be.
Be truthful; if it hurts, just say ow.
Be fair; let all speak.
Be ethical; if it feels wrong, it is.
Be careful; get facts right. Read more