Nine Principles of Journalism

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The nine principles of journalistic standards were developed to act as guides to assist journalists in various complicated situations. These dilemmas include, but are not limited to, conflict of interest as well as situations of personal bias. Many journalists in the United States have led the forefront in implementing these principles and applying them to their craft. However, today “fake news” seems to dominate the world of journalism. It is difficult for media consumers to distinguish the difference between responsible journalism, which focuses on relevant facts an infotainment which is acts as a distraction for audiences.

This paper will include brief history of the “Nine Principles of Journalism,” and provide details to assist in determining whether these principles are alive and thriving in present day journalism. This paper will also give insight as to whether or not businesses have affected these principles in today’s media.

The nine principles were developed in 1997 by the Committee of Concerned Journalists who took part in a nation wide conversation among news people and citizens to identify and formulate the principles that dominate journalism. According to Kovach and Rosenstiel, the first and most important principle is, “Journalists first obligation is to the truth (Kovach & Rosenstiel 2014).” The first principle speaks to the fact that the general purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with authentic and factual information required to operate in a liberated society.

Unfortunately, we live in a time that appears to be under siege from fake news. Not to say that all media outlets are guilty of misinformation. There are many news outlets and newspapers that focus on responsible journalism while upholding the ethical standards that are associated with the nine principles of journalism such as, The Christian Science Monitor and the NPR.

This surge of misinformation has spread like wildfire to those who lack in media literacy throughout social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well a certain online sites like BuzzFeed News or the Huffington Post. The spreading of this faulty information leads to the belief that certain businesses and journalists no longer care about responsible journalism, but put more emphasis on traffic for their website which results in greater profit. This concern with profit and circulation can overshadow certain ethical decisions such as whether or not to run a meaningful piece for fear of possible commercial consequences.

“This concentration of media power and penetration of commercial interest in the news media has been seen as affecting the mode of news, profession of journalism and outputs, and consequently, diversity and democracy itself (Sozeri 2011).” Rather than just concerning themselves with their loyalty to citizens, there are other critical questions that play a major factor in the network or newspapers decision process. Questions like, “Would it receive higher circulation if this story runs on a weekday versus the weekend,” or “ What promotional ads should we run next to this piece?” These questions are all centered around a business perspective as opposed to a journalistic one. Stories regarding issues of national importance used to run regardless of the impact. There used to be a sense of responsibility toward the citizens that weighed heavier than political agendas or corporate greed.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that the nine principles of journalism are still present in certain journalist and media outlets, but people who are less media literate do not know where to find this unbiased information. We live in a time where most people look to social media as if that is the best outlet to receive their news from, which causes me to believe that corporations are influencing and controlling the media. I feel that in order for the nine principles to be maintained by journalists they need to be encouraged by publishers and media outlets to speak the truth regardless of the possible commercial consequence.


Cite this paper

Nine Principles of Journalism. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/nine-principles-of-journalism/

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