Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Just where is the truth in journalism?

 After coming under such ferocious attacks following the phone hacking scandal, journalism - as a profession - has sort to defend itself from its vehement attackers.

 Critics argue that truth and values have been lost in journalism and that is why De Montfort University's senior lecturer in journalism, Tor Clark, took to its defence.

 Clark- a veteran of 16 years in the regional press - argued that the practice of journalism is the reverence for the truth. Surely, then, if that is the case, shouldn't journalism be synonymous with the truth?

 Well, no, not quite.

  Clark argued with vigour for all that's good in journalism - the reporting of news and their facts, without favour or fear, with no ulterior motive other than to inform.

  He cited his David Dimbleby's account of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the reporting of the Watergate Scandal as examples of journalism and its traditional practices, routines and values. This, he says, has changed very little in the regional press.

  However, Clark makes it clear that he will only defend the good in journalism and those who seek to uphold it. He makes no excuses for the phone hacking of recent years, or indeed the poorly reported Hillsborough or Madeline McCann stories, where the press didn't let such trivial things as facts get in the way of a good story.

  Interestingly, Clark did make a point of asking "Does the public always need to know the truth?"

 With Ed Snowden and Wikileaks recently compromising sensitive information in the field of national security, he argued that the truth is sometimes for the greater good, best left private.

 With this talk, Clark provided a compelling and balanced insight into journalism, one which I felt richer for having listened to.

 S.R Chambers

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