Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds   

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     (# of views)   7 comments
Author 26515
Message Philip Greene
 Suppose we want truth: why not rather untruth? and uncertainty? even ignorance?”

                                            Frederich Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil.

 I was having a conversation with a student of mine earlier this morning concerning a new project started by some people here at the school where I teach.  The conversation actually started yesterday afternoon when the student walked into the school meeting we have each day before releasing the students to go home.

“Guess what, Mr. Greene!” the student proudly said.“I’m a reporter!”

The previous quarter, I had put several hours into designing and developing a project to create a student newspaper, up to and including a complete mockup of an edition.  I duly sent this information to the Powers That Be and waited patiently for some word on high to respond, which, of course, never happened.  So I was more than a little surprised when this student, whom I had recruited for the project as I had designed it, came to me with this news.

“For whom?” I asked. “For us – for the school newspaper!”

Now we’ll put aside my bitterness of the fact that this project was one of my creation and that, of all the personnel on faculty or staff, I am the only one who has experience and training in journalism, which, I should think would best qualify me for the position of volunteer advisor. (And that is the last bellyache you will hear from me in this column.)

Instead we’ll consider that merely as background and look at the conversation as it took place this morning.

When the student came in this morning, I asked him to tell me about the paper. Excitedly, he told me that they were going to do stories on teachers and subjects about the school and the “positive impact” they have on the school and students.

I stopped him. “Wait a minute,” said I.  “So what you’re telling me is that you’re not doing a newspaper; you’re putting out a newsletter.”

“No, Mr. Greene.  It’s a newspaper – we’re telling everyone what’s going on here at the school that makes it special.”“Then, sir, you re not a reporter.  You are a public relations person and you are not publishing a newspaper, but a news letter.”

The student looked at me blankly, not knowing what to say.  This is a student who respects me quite a lot and who always comes to me each day to share his thoughts and get my input on them.  I could see that I had disappointed him and had dampened his enthusiasm.  For this, I was sorry, but at the same time, as a teacher – and as a journalist – I felt compelled to correct his misinformation.

I explained to him that the purposes of journalism and public relations are not the same.  In public relations, one tries to present the best possible perspective of the organization or person they represent.  In journalism, there is no such agenda.  The purpose – the only purpose – of journalism is to present all the relevant and pertinent facts of a given event, situation or idea, without bias and without prejudice, and let the observer make up her or his own mind on the matter.

CAVEAT:  Yes, I know, all too well, that this is not, and, honestly, never has been, the way journalism works in many cases, and is a large part of the reason I left professional journalism for other pastures.  However, this is the manifesto of the journalist and the single-most holy Commandment – that to which we all should aspire.  It is the way I conducted my own journalistic career and the same way I have, for the years I have been in education, taught every student I have had in this subject area. 

The student, a young man of 16, had a lot of trouble understanding the difference.  This innocence came to a head when he said that he “just wanted to tell the truth” about things.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Philip Greene Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

For 12 years, as a professional journalist, I covered education, environmental legislation, criminal courts, and politics. Throughout my career, I described myself as from the "Dragnet School of journalism -- Just the facts, ma'am, just the (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Cycle of Empires

Why Government Isn't Hearing Us

I Have Seen The Enemy and It Is . . .

Will the Bad Guys Really Get Away With It?

Man and Superman -- Obama the President