Journalists - what are they for, exactly?

Things journalists should learn on day one:

1. 'I won't answer a hypothetical question' entails that I won't then say what I will do if I am elected. Absurd.
2. A handful of anecdotes makes good copy but is not good evidence (e.g. stories about 'benefit scroungers', immigrants, etc.)
3. Smearing/labeling folk (e.g. 'Champagne socialist!', 'Politics of Envy!', 'Hypocrite', 'Fascist!') usually does nothing to discredit the views expressed.
4. Being impartial is not the same as being neutral. E.g. getting a scientist vs. a climate change denier on your programme is neutral, but not impartial.


I suspect most journalists are aware of e.g. 2 & 3 but many carry on regardless at The Sun and The Daily Mail. Which raises the question: what are journalists for, exactly? What are they paid to do, exactly?

I don't like the label 'journalist'. What some 'journalists' do (e.g. hacks at The Sun and the Daily Mail) and what others do (genuinely investigative, insightful, and educative stuff) are activities with almost entirely opposite aims.

It's like lumping doctors and serial killers together under a single common noun.

Comments

Marcos Ioshua said…
Stephen Law, how do I get a chat with you by email?
Stephen Law said…
Marcos - use: 'think (AT) royalinstitutephilosophy.org'