Truth, Integrity and Honesty: The Value of the Press and Journalism


Engraved in the Dallas Morning News building by George Bannerman, the "Rock of Truth" details the responsibility of all journalists. Staff Photo

Sriya Reddy, Associate Editor

They call it “The Rock of Truth.”

“They built The News upon the rock of truth and righteousness, conducting it always upon the lines of fairness and integrity, and acknowledging the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question.”

These words are engraved upon the Dallas Morning News building by George Bannerman Dealey as a reminder for all journalists that it is their duty and responsibility to report the whole truth to the public.

Freedom of press is a crucial component of the Bill of Rights put in place in the Constitution to ensure the right to express opinions without repercussions administered by the government. It is also known as the freedom of the media or the right to have freedom of opinion and expression. The freedom of press should be recognized and supported in order to provide the people with differences in ideas and perspective.

Truth is an integral part of journalism and the first amendment allows journalists to share and develop the truth. The press is often described as the “watchdog” of the government because its function revolves around investigating the government so that the government can be held accountable for any illegal and unconstitutional activity.
The importance of journalism is often trampled under politics and stubbornness; however, it is truly a necessity for a properly functioning democratic society. It is vital in exploring viewpoints and forming personal opinions.

In the eyes of today’s people, journalism is seen as a travesty built upon the foundation of lies and bias. The “watchdog” is ridiculed rather than trusted. Although, some sites are built off of uneducated inferences with unreliable sources, not every single journalist reports “fake news.” In fact, most reputable journalists fight for the truth. Those who do report on lies should not be considered true journalists. Unwanted news should not immediately be deemed as fake news as this hinders the very goal journalists have.

The new administration of this country brings about a negative connotation of this field with the president calling journalists the most “dishonest” and “disgusting” human beings. Singling out journalists as the enemy augments the divide in an already divided nation. The Chief International Correspondent of Cable News Network (CNN), Christiane Amanpour, created a story on Nov. 23, 2016 titled “Journalism faces an ‘existential crisis’ in Trump era” in the hopes of stimulating unity and the vitality of protecting journalism, and especially the truth. She states that as Americans, we should “stand up together — for divided we will all fall.”

It is our job as active citizens to not only be well-informed, but also inform others in the misinformation and fake news that is spread around daily regarding current events. Take action through daily acts of journalism with social media outlets widen the perspective of those around you.