Department with integrity

Students should heed the advice of professors to be transparent and accurate above all else.

Despite the disheartening nature of recent journalistic scandals, from the retraction of Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” to Brian Williams’ fall from grace as a respected NBC news anchor, Temple journalism students still have experienced quality within the field in their department professors. Several of those instructors who spoke to The Temple News this week demonstrated just how valuable it is to find teaching opportunities even in the missteps of their fellow professionals.

Those professors provide excellent example to student-journalists like those of us on staff at The Temple News. As a result, current students have the opportunity to – as journalism ethics and law professor Christopher Harper put it – help “recreate a connection between the press and public.”

Temple students should heed the advice of their professors interviewed for this week’s issue and in the department at large, because it is derived from years of working experience and contemplation of journalistic integrity. They should work to achieve the most significant and reiterated suggestion of professors who were interviewed about how to learn from the Rolling Stone story’s discreditation: to place the highest of value upon fact-checking and verification, and to be transparent in their reporting, writing and personal presentation.

The public depends on journalists – if the press is to truly be the fourth estate in our country, aspiring professionals in the field must remember to maintain their journalistic integrity and responsibility. That means doing the hard work of airtight research, tireless verification efforts and genuinely accurate representation of facts. The fact that Harper, who writes a column for the Washington Times, offered detailed personal information to give his readers full disclosure of his own biases is commendable.

Journalism is an ever-exciting field for many young people. The opportunity to write meaningful, interesting stories is a source of adrenaline for many of us. But taking the time and responsibility to be accurate and transparent is the only way young journalists can effectively improve and advance the field they enter.

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