What a great surprise and delight it was to hear Jim Lehrer read this set of PBS NewsHour principles on television this evening. It is the perfect antidote to my recent off-topic rant, and a great set of guidelines to help me to improve the integrity of everything I do (although, unlike Mr. Lehrer, I suppose I am in the entertainment business).
Do nothing I cannot defend.
Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am.
Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label everything.
Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
I am not in the entertainment business.
(Thanks to Michael for finding the list on line and posting it here.)