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Elements of Journalism

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Every day journalists face the stereotype of being ruthless, untrustworthy, and down right wrong. However, what people don't realize is that in the beginning this was not the case and even in today's society journalists are making a solid effort to fight that stereotype that so many bad journalists have left. One of the ways that journalists are trying to fight back is through instituting the nine elements of journalism: journalism's first obligation is to the truth, its first loyalty is to citizens, its essence is a discipline of verification, its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover, it must serve as an independent monitor of power, it must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise, its must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant, it must keep the news comprehensive and proportional, and its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience. These elements are to be used in relation to any piece of journalism. Therefore, as I look at Suskind's "A Hope in the Unseen" I will evaluate his use or lack of use of these nine elements.

Journalism's first obligation is to the truth. This is a simple concept, however, there is said to be much conflict over the fact that one person's interpretation of what is true may differ from another's. Did Suskind give us the "truth" and how did he come upon this "truth"? In Kovach and Rosensteil's "The Elements of Journalism" they discuss how today's journalists explain the truth as responses they find in interviews, speeches, marketing slogans, and crude metaphors. However, finding the truth is much more. They explain how it is a process that one develops through their experiences in the field. Suskind is a vet...

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... journalists' "moral compass." A journalist needs to be able to stand up and say that something is wrong, it is biased, or misinterpreted. This element doesn't seem to show itself in Suskinds book but then again it wouldn't. This is something I'm sure Suskind faced on his journey of putting it together. Suskind standing up for what he knew to be right and true was what made the book what it is.

The task of writing "A Hope in the Unseen" was much larger then most of us can handle. Anyone can record some facts and put them together, but to truly fulfill your duty as a journalist you have to go far beyond that. We must follow Suskind's lead into the "unseen" and put the principles that journalism was founded on, back into practice. However, we can't stop there, it is up to us to pass our knowledge on so others can continue the fight for better journalism.
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