Journalism Quotes

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The field of journalism and freedom of the press is central to our democracy. Good reporting from ethical journalists is especially crucial in the Internet era where it is becoming more difficult to ascertain the truth and untrustworthy sources try to confuse the public on a variety of important issues. Here is a collection of pithy quotes about journalism. Some of them are highly critical of journalists and newspapers.

Walter Conkrite: "Journalism is what we need to make democracy work."

Hunter S. Thompson: "If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism." (source)

Mark Twain: "In the real world, the right thing never happens in the right place and the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to make it appear that it has." (source)

Oscar Wilde: "The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read."

Robert Redford: "Journalism has changed tremendously because of the democratization of information. Anybody can put something up on the Internet. It's harder and harder to find what the truth is."

Bob Schieffer: "I think journalism is a great way to do public service, to have an impact on your community."

Tom Brokaw: "I'm not a big fan of journalism schools, except those that are organized around a liberal arts education. Have an understanding of history, economics and political science - and then learn to write."

Charles Dickens: "Newspapers are so filthy and bestial that no honest man would admit one into his home for a water-closet doormat.

Dan Rather: "Ratings don't last. Good journalism does."

G.K. Chesterton: "Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another." (source)

Thomas Jefferson: "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."

Edward R. Murrow: "It is well to remember that freedom through the press is the thing that comes first. Most of us probably feel we couldn't be free without newspapers, and that is the real reason we want the newspapers to be free." (source)

Norman Mailer: "If a person is not talented enough to be a novelist, not smart enough to be a lawyer, and his hands are too shaky to perform operations, he becomes a journalist." (source)

Gore Vidal: "Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half." (source)

Margaret Thatcher: "Journalism is a career which demands the highest professionalism. It demands responsibility as well, for the line between honest revelation and disingenuous sensationalism is sometimes perilously thin." (source)

Warren Buffett: "The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is." (source)

Henry Luce: "I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world." (source)

Noam Chomsky: "The duty of journalists is to tell the truth. Journalism means you go back to the actual facts, you look at the documents, you discover what the record is, and you report it that way." (source)

Jack Shafer: "There's a cliche the boiler-room salesmen in it use: 'ABC,' which stands for Always Be Closing. I believe in ABL for journalists: Always Be Looking. No matter how good your job is--and mine was great--you should always be looking for your next gig." (source)