Lehrer Shares His Guidelines

One of the most familiar and reliable nightly news broadcasts will have a new name on Monday night.

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will become the PBS NewsHour.

This is the fifth time the broadcast has changed its name; however, the broadcast’s journalistic quality has been a constant.

As students, we are confronted with the changing landscape of our profession, but legends like Jim Lehrer help us remember who we are and what we do.

“I promise you one thing is never going to change, and that’s our mission,” said Lehrer at the close of Friday’s broadcast.

He then outlined the guidelines for what he called “MacNeil/Lehrer journalism,” which is a reference to the first anchor of the NewsHour – Robert MacNeil.

1.) Do nothing I cannot defend
2.) Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me
3.) Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story
4.) Assume that the viewer is as smart and caring and as good a person as I am
5.) Assume the same about all people on whom I report
6.) Assume personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise
7.) Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything
8.) Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions – No one ever should be allowed to attack another anonymously
9.) I am not in the entertainment business

Whether you agree with all of Lehrer guidelines, or not, he has surely earned our attention. We thank him for sharing his knowledge and thoughts.

Here is the video:

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit


Newest Posts

Part three: critiquing the code of ethics August 20, 2014, 1:47 pm
Alleged police attacks on journalists are strikes on democracy August 14, 2014, 3:36 pm
Dear journalism student: Don’t worry, be happy August 13, 2014, 8:54 pm
Ethics of covering suicides August 13, 2014, 4:23 pm
The teeth sink in, and don’t let go August 13, 2014, 5:37 am
The debate on a Twitter edit tool August 6, 2014, 10:01 pm
Why must we be reminded of evil that still haunts this country? August 4, 2014, 2:51 am

Copyright © 2007-2014 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ