The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS Television – one of the most respected daily news programs in television history – will have a high tech facelift this coming Monday. Everything I’ve seen that they are doing is spectacular. The updates will make the best even better, in my opinion.
Not only will NewsHour continue its legacy and reputation for superb coverage of major stories, everything on the air will be mirrored and expanded online in ways the other TV news programs never dreamed of.
In announcing the changes, the program’s host, Jim Lehrer, took a moment to underscore his rules of journalist that act as a beacon for excellence at his program. I’m very proud to share his remarks here:
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