Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists (PDF)

Readers spoke compellingly of their experiences with newspapers and their observations about the behavior of journalists. Their comments evoked a sense of belief in the press as an important institution in our democracy, but they were unsparing, as well, in documenting their concerns about basic journalistic practices that they see as being unfair:

  • Newspapers get too much too wrong too often; they are not factually accurate often enough.
  • Newspapers are unwilling to correct mistakes fully, candidly, prominently and promptly, and with grace.
  • The press is biased — not with a liberal bias, but with a negative one. There is too much focus on what is wrong and what is in conflict, and not enough on reporting and explaining what is working and succeeding. There is too much focus on the “failures” of the system and not enough on the “victories” of life and the people who live in our communities.

Robert J. HaimanBest Practices for Newspaper Journalists (PDF) (The Freedom Forum’s Free Press/Fair Press Project)

A 73-page PDF booklet examining the reasons behind the public’s perception that journalists are unfair, elite, incompetent, and otherwise not worthy of respect. (Focuses specifically on newspapers, and doesn’t get at the heart of issues such as gate-keeping or what happens when the people start exercising their own freedoms via the internet.)