新闻学原理(英文版)(txt+pdf+epub+mobi电子书下载)

作者:(美)约斯特

出版社:中国传媒大学出版社

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新闻学原理(英文版)

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出版说明

“新闻学与传播学经典丛书·英文原版系列”,选取了在新闻学与传播学历史上具有里程碑意义的大师经典名作,如传播学“四大奠基人”哈罗德·拉斯韦尔、保罗·拉扎斯菲尔德等,及加布里埃尔·塔尔德、罗伯特·帕克、哈罗德·伊尼斯、马歇尔·麦克卢汉、库尔特·卢因、卡尔·霍夫兰等这些学界耳熟能详的名家佳作。这些是传播学与新闻学的奠基之作,也是现代新闻学与传播学发展的基础。许多名作都多次再版,影响深远,历久不衰,成为新闻学与传播学的经典。此套丛书采用英文原版出版,希望读者能读到原汁原味的著作。

随着中国高等教育的教学改革,广大师生已不满足于仅仅阅读国外图书的翻译版,他们迫切希望能读到原版图书,希望能采用国外英文原版图书进行教学,从而保证所讲授的知识体系的完整性、系统性、科学性和文字描绘的准确性。此套丛书的出版便是满足了这种需求,同时可使学生在专业技术方面尽快掌握本学科相应的外语词汇,并了解先进国家的学术发展方向。

本系列在引进英文原版图书的同时,将目录译为中文,作为对原版的一种导读,供读者阅读时参考。

从事经典著作的出版,需要出版人付出不懈的努力,好在有本丛书的主编展江教授和何道宽教授的大力扶持,我们得以在学术出版的道路上走的更远。我们自知本套丛书也许会有很多缺陷,虚心接受读者提出的批评和建议。中国传媒大学出版社

Preface

In this book the writer has attempted to formulate and define the fundamental principles of journalism. The work is the result of a conviction that there is a growing need for such a statement and definition.Journalism has taken its place among the great professions.

Its influence is universally recognized.

It has become a necessity of modern life and modern progress.

Its development is one of the wonders of our age.

It pervades all civilization and makes a constant impress upon human thought and achievement everywhere. Yet it is in fact so new that it is only now beginning to realize within itself that it is not a mere aggregation of individuals pursuing a common vocation,but an entity,whose rights must be guarded,whose integrity must be maintained,and whose responsibilities must be recognized,by its individual parts. This realization naturally leads to a larger consideration of journalism as a whole,to thought about it as a profession,having collective interest and duties,distinguished from journalism as an individual calling,and out of this comes an increasing endeavor to arrive at a common understanding of what journalism really is,what are the standards by which it should be governed,what are its obligations in relation to the public,what are its aims and ideals.

It is the hope of the Writer that this book may contribute in some degree to such an understanding.For it would seem to be essential that a foundation be laid in an agreement upon elemental principles definitely stated,something concrete upon which conscientious journalism—and most of its practitioners are conscientious—can plant its feet.

In this effort to state the primary principles of journalism the author realizes that he presents nothing that is new to thoughtful and experienced newspaper men. Novelty,indeed,would be foreign to the purpose.Anything new would be mere theory.Principles,being necessarily the product of experience,cannot be new. But the consciousness of underlying principles,and the degree and manner of their application,whether conscious or unconscious,vary with individual character,and if standards are to be established by which good journalism may be measured,it is necessary to draw from the common experience the essential elements of conduct and practice that have been proven by time and that are in accord with those principles of right that are recognized in all human association,and give concrete form to them. No one man may accomplish this to the satisfaction of all,but one man may assemble,from his own mature experience,and his conception of the general experience,sufficient material to make a start on such a foundation,and if this work will help in any manner to that construction its main purpose will be served.

But it is the hope of the writer that the interest in this effort will not be confined to his profession.

There is no human agency that is in such constant,intimate and persistent contact with the public as that of journalism.

Its influence,whether profound or superficial,whether good or bad,is universal,pervading every avenue of life.

Its conduct,therefore,is a matter of public concern,and what journalism thinks of itself,the standards by which it guides itself and by which it wishes to be judged,its conception of its responsibilities to the public,its aims and ideals,should all be matters of general interest. There is need for a better public understanding of the difficulties that journalism encounters,and must of necessity encounter to a degree,in the exercise of its function and the realization of its ideals.

There is a need for a better understanding of the principles which direct its best expression,a better understanding of its aspirations,and a better understanding of the devotion to the public service that is shown by tens of thousands of journalists who live and die unknown.

It is the earnest wish of the writer that this book may be helpful to such an understanding.C.S.Y.

Chapter Ⅰ The Origins

The archeologists,who dig farther and farther into antiquity,have never found that human nature in the remotest ages was different from that of today.

The men and women of ten thousand years ago had the same interests,the same desires,the same passions,the same vices and virtues,they were moved by the same instincts and much the same reasonings,as the men and women of the present. It is therefore safe to assume that when Cain left home to acquire a residence and a wife in the land of Nod he did not wholly forget those he left behind in the neighborhood of Eden,and that when,in years long after,a patriarchal century perhaps,he met a traveler from that region,he was eager for news from home,although,for obvious reasons,he may have concealed his identity.Doubtless he wanted to know not only what had happened in the country about Eden but what was happening at the moment,and he absorbed with relish the smallest details of information,as well as those of larger importance.

The passion for news is not a development of civilization.Man is provided with organs of speech for the purpose of communication,with organs of hearing for the receipt of communications,and both tongue and ears have always been eager to function.Man is also endowed with unfailing curiosity which creates a continuous interest in the affairs,the conduct and the acts of others,a continuous interest in the processes and events of nature,a continuous interest in events and circumstances of every character,whether near or far removed.

There never has been a time when men,and women,did not want to know what was going on in the family,in the community,in the region,in the world.

There never was a time when the bearer of good news, or the bearer of bad news,about others,was unwelcome;never a time when news was not a commodity of constant exchange.“As cold waters to a thirsty soul,so is good news from a far country,”says the author of Proverbs,bearing eloquent testimony to the value put upon news so long ago as the days of Solomon,and no modern bulletins are more eagerly read than were those beacons that heralded to Greece the fall of Troy.

This interest in events,this curiosity about things,which is the source of passion for news,is indeed,the foundation of civilization and human progress.

It is this which constantly enlarges the bounds of human knowledge and spurs that knowledge into new activities in new fields. It was the news that Paul spread through the Mediterranean provinces that established Christianity.

It was the news that Marco Polo brought back from Cathay that started a search for a water route to the East Indies.

It was the news of the discovery by Columbus that prompted the voyages which opened the Western Hemisphere to settlement.

The news of every discovery by science has inspired science to new researches and new discoveries. But there would have been no such results if there had not been the everreceptive soil of human interest to receive their reports and to spread them in ever-widening circles. All knowledge,and all advancements growing out of knowledge,come from man's insatiable curiosity,his desire to know about things,whether it is the conduct of his neighbors,the nature of distant countries,or the reason of an apple's fall to the ground.He who learns tells,for the disposition to communicate is as strong as the disposition to hear. So news is disseminated,and always the process has been in operation,adding knowledge,good,bad,and indifferent,indiscriminately,to the human store,to be sifted through human experience for the rejection of the worthless.

News!The word,like the thing it names,has its roots in the remotest antiquity of language.

The theory,widely circulated,that it was derived from the points of the compass (N. E. W. S. ) is a fantastic notion without respectable foundation in fact or in usage.

It comes from the word“new”, through one of those curious developments of etymology which were common in the days when the language was in its formative stages,when there was no English grammar,and when “it appeared as if any word whatever might be used in any grammatical relation where it conveyed the idea of the speaker.”“New”is one of the oldest words in the language,one of the number that are traced directly to the Sanscrit,and it is to be found in related form in nearly every European tongue,living or dead.

The nava of the Sanscrit became the novus of the Latin,the niuiis of the Gothic,the niwi of the old Saxon,the niwe or neowe of the Anglo-Saxon.

It was not only an adjective,but when shorn of its inflections in the transitions of the Middle English period the same word became an adverb,with the same meaning as newly;a verb,equivalent to renew;and a noun,applicable to anything new.

In its plural form, news, it is found as such a noun in the older English writings.

For example,in More's Utopia,in the original,appeared the phrase,“not for a vain and curious desire to see news,”meaning new things.When it began to be applied to new events in the modern sense of news is not definitely known.

The earliest use of the word in that sense in extant writings,according to the New English Dictionary,was in 1423,when James I of Scotland wrote in the “Kingis Quare,”“I bring the newis that blissful ben.” The same unimpeachable authority says it did not come into common use until after 1500,when it began gradually to supersede the older “tidings,” a word of Norse descent,in popular favor.

This is clearly shown in the fact that while in the “authorized version” of the Bible,drawn largely from the sixteenth century texts of Tyndale and Coverdale,the word “tidings” appears twenty-five times and“news”but once,Shakespeare uses“news”thirty-eight times and“tidings”only nine. That is why it was as“tidings,”rather than as “news,”that the greatest news in the world's history was announced,according to St. Luke,by the angels in“Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” The word “news” took the various forms of neues,niewse,nues,newys,newis,newes before it was finally fixed as “news”.

Recurring to the imaginary meeting of Cain and the traveler from Eden we may presume that when they exchanged the news they possessed they fell to discussing the events reported,each expressing individual opinions about them. This,it is needless to say,is a universal accompaniment of news.And it is one of its most valuable attributes that,whether it is important or trivial,it arouses discussion. Discussion promotes thought,and thought is the lever that,when placed upon the fulcrum of truth,raises humanity. News is ever food for thought,and without it the mind must starve unless it holds within itself material for contemplation,and even that is likely to grow stale and lacking in substance for the mind unless refreshed by contact with events.

Two persons living in complete isolation,without any communication with the world about them,will soon. as a rule,grow silent through sheer lack of new subjects for conversation.Life demands something to talk about,something to think about,something,however small,to exercise the mind upon,and news through all ages has supplied this material for conversation,for discussion,for thought,for opinion.

News and views!Ever they have been inextricably associated,and ever they must continue to be. The publication of news and views is journalism,a profession,an art and a business,developed out of the irrepressible instincts of human nature,responding to a universal and insistent desire for information,a universal and insistent curiosity that seeks enlightenment,a universal and insistent demand for the stimulation and satisfaction of interest.But journalism could not come into existence until facilities of publication had been created.

For ages,before the syllabic and alphabetic stage of writing,the only means of publication,the only means of disseminating news,was by word of mouth,save,on occasion,by signals from hilltops,or by understood symbols carried by messengers which reached their highest form in pictographs.For ages after the invention of letters the voice was still the only means of communication except for official messages and for the favored few who could use the tablets of clay or wax,the parchment or papyrus scripts,Yet news of great importance or particular interest had wings even under those restricted conditions.Systems of runners were developed in many countries for the rapid transmission of intelligence,and spoken or written proclamations in the market places contributed to the spread of information that authority desired to communicate,developing faint promises of the newspaper in the Acta Diurna of Imperial Rome and the so-called “gazette” of Pekin.

It was not,however,until the invention of printing that the means of publication in the modern sense was created,and it was still more than a hundred years after the presses began to work before anybody seems to have thought of them as an aid in the dissemination of news.

Then,in Germany,some one conceived the idea of collecting accounts of certain important events of the time and printing them in a book.

The publication received popular approval,and soon news books of this character began to issue from the capitals of England and France. Each one of these,however,was an individual venture like any other book.

It was still a long time before a periodical news publication was thought of by a German,Egenolph Emmel,who in 1615 started the Frankfort Journal,and became the father of journalism,though that title is sometimes also given to Butter of London and Renaudot of Paris,who began periodical publication of newspapers some years later. It was in Frankfort,however,that journalism was founded,to lead a precarious and unrespected existence for another century before its value began to be recognized,and still anuther before the invention and establishment of the telegraph,the growth of transportation facilities,and the development of printing machinery,supplied the means for the extensive and rapid collection of news from everywhere,for rapid printing at low cost,and for quick and far distribution,and ushered in the era of journalism as an omnipresent and respected influence in the life and affairs of man.

There is no influence in the world so ubiquitous,so persuasive,so persistent as the newspaper.Each day it goes into the home,into the office,into the shop,into the factory,into the fields.No man is so poor or so remote that it does not touch him.And each day it lays before its reader the news of the community,of the country,of the whole earth,news that is good,news that is bad,news that is important,news that is relatively if not wholly trivial,news that is essential to the conduct of business,of industry,of society,and of government,news that has no value save in the momentary entertainment it affords, It presents a continuous,never-ending moving picture of the world and its occurrences,of mankind and its conduct,depicting comedy,tragedy,vice,virtue,heroism,devotion,enterprise,discovery,calamity,beneficence,sorrow and joy—human life in all its kaleidoscopic and inexplicable changes.And accompanying all this is editorial comment upon the news,interpreting the meaning of events,associating views with information,opinions with fact,and thereby aiding the reader to a better understanding and to an opinion of his own which becomes an element in the creation of public opinion,that “sovereign mistress of effects” which rules the modern world.Such is journalism,a profession that exists upon the events of the day,that mirrors all life and presents it to the view of every individual,thereby bringing all mankind to a closer unity and to a clearer conception of its kinship.

Chapter Ⅱ Principles of Production

The newspaper is one of the most complex,as it is one of the most important and valuable,of human institutions.

Its production requires primarily the extensive and intensive study and labor of a profession which may be classed among the learned,in that it is a vocation of the mind which demands an accumulated store of general and special knowledge for its successful practice.But it is also a manufacturing enterprise to which a score of skilled crafts are essential,and a business which involves extensive buying and complicated salesmanship.

The business is indispensable to the profession,and the profession is indispensable to the business,and their association is most effective when each recognizes that the other is equally necessary,and that the work of journalism is not complete without the labors of both.A newspaper without competent business management fails,just as surely as one without competent editorial management.Superexcellence in neither can compensate for inadequacy in the other. And yet the two functions,though both creative,both contributing to the same end,are distinct and different and must operate separately,but in contact,within the same body.

The production of a newspaper is fundamentally a manufacturing enterprise in which the direct sale of the product is essential.

It matters not how disinterested,how altruistic,the motives inspiring the publication,the process of manufacture and sale is as necessary to their accomplishment as if its purposes were purely mercenary.For a newspaper to be of value in any way it must have readers,and it must have continuous readers.

To obtain and retain such readers it must have elements of attractiveness and worth that justify payment for it,and continuous payment.A newspaper that is given away can acquire neither dependable circulation nor respect.

The experiment has been tried. It must be sold,if it is to have any standing or influence. and it must be bought for its intrinsic value. It must be a marketable product.

To be a marketable product it must contain what the people,or a number of them,are willing to pay for.

The first essential of a newspaper is that it be salable. The first essential of journalism is that it produce a salable commodity. It may create something of the highest character,it may express the loftiest ideals,it may be devoted to the noblest of causes,but if the product is not salable it is utterly futile.For a newspaper that is not read is no better than a blank sheet,though it contain letters of gold.And a newspaper is never salable unless it furnishes enough of what people desire to induce them to buy.

It may in addition,and should,contain much for which they have no desire but which they need and which they ought to have,but it is only through that which they want that purchase can be persuaded.

There is a difference between “giving the people wh at they want” and giving them what they ought not to have,that will be discussed later.

The point here to be impressed is the principle that a newspaper must be,first of all,a salable product,and that to be salable it must,to a certain extent,respond to a public desire.No sale,no reader;no reader,no effect. This is the formula of failure in journalistic enterprise,however high its motives.

And while it is to be qualified in some degree,it is none the less true that the influence of a newspaper is,generally speaking,in proportion to the number of its readers. Circulation is not a reliable basis for estimating the comparative influence of different newspapers,for one of large circulation may have less influence than one of smaller circulation,because of differences in the character of the publications or the character of their readers.But in every case,whether the circulation is relatively large or small,the influence of each individual publication increases with the increase of its circulation. There are newspapers that are designed to appeal only to a class distinguished by education,intelligence and culture.

Their circulation then is practically limited to that class,which in relation to the whole population of any given region,is comparatively small.But this class as a rule has an influence,in society,in business and in public affairs,quite out of proportion to its numbers,and so the journal which it reads has a similar influence of a larger nature.But even within this class it still remains true that the larger the number of its readers the more extensive is the impression made by such a journal.

However fine in itself,a newspaper is worthless unless it has readers,and it cannot obtain readers unless it persuades buyers through the character of its contents,and through selling activities.A miller produces a commodity of universal necessity and of unquestionable value,a commodity for which there is a continuous and large demand,but it appeases no hunger,sustains no life,until it goes out from the mill and into service by distribution through sale.But neither value nor demand will effect sale of itself to an extent that will repay the labor of production.

A miller who does not establish means for the sale of his flour and actively endeavor to promote sale is practically certain to cease production.Yet no one can say that flour is not wholesome,nor necessary to life.But it is only through consumption that it contributes to life;it cannot be consumed until it is distributed,and it cannot be distributed,as a permanent process,save by sale.

It can be given away in emergency,but the fact remains that it is not,and never has been,given away,except as a public or private philanthropy in time of need,and even then the miller is usually compensated-he sells his product just the same. There is no product so essential to life as flour,and perhaps none so free from criticism,yet its production is everywhere and at all times a business enterprise,and for many practical reasons it must be so.

The newspaper is a manufactured product that is not essential to life.Existence is possible without it.Many do exist without it,and for ages all people lived with no newspaper to aid them.But it responds to a need and a desire of human nature,and it has become a necessary agency of public welfare and of private information.No less than flour its production and distribution is fundamentally a business enterprise.

That does not mean that profit is an essential object. It may have such altruistic or ulterior support that profit indeed is a negligible consideration.But none the less it is a business enterprise,that must be conducted on business principles and with business ability and energy if it is to accomplish whatever purpose it may have. It has to be manufactured and it has to be sold,and the training,talents and processes of business are as essential to these operations as they are to the conduct of any other business.

Moreover,it is generally true that there is a direct relation between the public influence,and usually the public value,of a newspaper and the capacity of its business management. It is usually true that the most influential papers are those that are the most prosperous,those,indeed,whose publication is most profitable in a legitimate way.

That influence may not always be wholly good,but good or bad,it is based upon the number and character of its readers,upon the quantity and quality of its circulation;and it is through sales that that circulation is acquired,it is through that circulation that value is given to its advertising space,and it is through its advertising growing out of paper sales that a newspaper draws its prosperity.Sales and advertising are the products of business ability and activity,and these qualities can neither be ignored nor depreciated in the consideration of journalism,to the success of which,whatever the nature of its primary purposes,they are essential.

Incidentally,it should be realized and recognized that advertising in itself has aesthetic and economic public values that make it something vastly more important than a mere income-producing feature of journalism.

But while business ability,business principles and business methods are essential to effective journalism,it cannot be wholly dominated by the desire for profit without injury or disaster.Journalistic production is not simply a business enterprise. As a rule,every journal is established mainly to advocate certain principles,to support a certain cause,to perform a public service or supply a public need. These purposes,all of them,some of them,or at least one of them,are the impelling motives,whatever their merit,of all or practically all beginnings in journalistic production;and while the identity of such motives or the form of their application may change with time and experience,the nature of them-the basic principles of public impression or public service for public advancement-can not be altered or abandoned without peril to the enterprise.

Rarely,if ever,is a newspaper or other journal established with the idea of profit foremost,and while profit may come,often does come,under competent business management,and it is highly advantageous if it does come,it will almost certainly disappear if it is permitted to become the dominant motive of production and overrides the basic principle of journalistic purpose.

For of all human undertakings a newspaper is most dependent upon sustained public confidence for its existence.And of all human productions the newspaper is most open to public scrutiny.

It is by that scrutiny,indeed,that it lives,and it is through the results of that scrutiny that it grows or withers.Each day the newspaper,in its diurnal form,is exposed naked to the world. Itself,complete,with all its faults and virtues,its weakness and its strength,it is spread before every reader,to be approved or condemned upon its open face. If it is good it shows itself,if it is bad it reveals itself. Naturally,being essentially an expression of human personalities,it is never either all good or all bad,but,whichever may predominate,it is discernible.

It lays its goods upon the counter,labeled,for the reader's inspection and selection.Whatever purposes it may have,it must express them somehow on its pages or it is utterly futile.It may have ulterior motives,it may,perchance,have sinister designs that it attempts to disguise,but such a policy is invariably fatal.Actual motives cannot be long concealed nor evil designs disguised in the full glare of publicity to which it is constantly exposed.Sooner or later,every newspaper,every journal,must reveal itself for what it really is,and survive or perish on the public verdict.

Nor can a newspaper survive,much less prosper,if there is a widespread suspicion of ulterior motives based upon the nature of ownership or control.“Repeated efforts have been made by men of great wealth and having large interests to buy and conduct newspapers for the purpose of affecting public opinion,”said Melville E. Stone,long general manager of the Associated Press,in a talk to newspapermen,“but in almost every instance these efforts have failed. Mr. Jay Gould once owned a daily newspaper in New York,and after a short and inglorious career with it,was glad to sell for a greatly reduced price.

Something like thirty years ago Mr. Cyrus Field bought an evening paper to protect his railway interests,and made an attempt to run it.Of course. it was not long before he discovered he could not make the thing work.He then offered to sell me a half interest with the understanding that I should pay for it out of the paper's earnings.

I asked who would be associated with me,and he replied that he would keep the other half himself.I was forced to say that without any desire to be offensive I could not buy into the paper at all if he were to remain in it,even with a minority.A newspaper cannot succeed if it is to be made the means toward an ulterior end.”

The proof of this assertion has been repeatedly and expensively proven,and it is true because it is not possible to forward ulterior purposes through newspaper control without revealing them,and,sooner or later,revealing their source,if effort has been made to conceal that source.Newspaper ownership must be primarily concerned in publication for the legitimate and open purpose of journalism,and its control,it would seem from the general experience,must show in its creation.

As a rule successful papers have been established and developed by men having no other interests and no other occupation,and most of such have continued as family properties or passed into the hands of others of like singleness of interest, Where,however,such a newspaper,no matter how prosperous or respected,has fallen into what may be termed alien hands,into a control that is not primarily and directly concerned in the production of a newspaper,it has slowly or swiftly declined. Acquirement of control of a newspaper. to forward private ends,by those who are not directly engaged in the work of publication,has usually if not invariably failed to accomplish the purpose.Journalism is a jealous mistress and demands the concentration of the capital involved,as well as the labors in the production,for its own sake,under penalty of disaster.

But a daily newspaper is not only exposed to the world naked every day;it must be sold upon its merits each day,and fully sold.

It is the most perishable of manufactured products,perhaps the only one that is literally ephemeral.Born today it is dead to-morrow,its value gone.

There can be no stocks on shelves or in warehouses for the newspaper.Each day it must be created anew,and each day must endeavor to sell the entire output.Each day,too,it must be created different.A newspaper must be eternally new.

It must submit itself daily to the public judgment on the basis of what that day presents,plus the public confidence it has acquired through continuously and daily justifying its title to public favor.

That confidence is an accumulative asset,yet no matter how long it has been developing nor how long it has been maintained,it is permanent only so long as it continues to be justified each day.

It can be lost more easily and more quickly than acquired,and once lost it is more difficult to restore than to obtain in the beginning.

It cannot betray that confidence without losing it,and it cannot decline in general merit without reduction of sales.

It is constantly,daily,before the bar of popular judgment,and must justify with each issue its right to public favor and esteem.

If it does not it can neither grow nor stand still;it must decline.

It is,therefore,ever confronted with the necessity of holding its own and of disposing each day of that day's creation,under a more searching and continuous scrutiny than is given to any other human production by its consumers.

It follows that whatever the basis of the public support given to a newspaper,whether information,opinion or entertainment predominates as its drawing power,whether it appeals to a class or to the mass,whether its quality is high or low,it must daily justify itself and its price to its particular readers.And whatever the character of its readers it must keep faith with them;it must create and maintain the impression that whatever its faults or however frequent its mistakes it is honest with them,that it is giving in a general way the service for which they pay.

If it does not they will cease to buy.

It is essential that a newspaper be conducted for its own interest;it cannot prosper as the tail to any kite. It is necessary that it be conducted for its own interest,because,as has been said,the production of a newspaper requires the concentration of the capital,the brains and the energy involved upon that one purpose,if it is to be made a thing of value to its owners,to its employed creators,and to its readers,and if it is to accomplish whatever aim of legitimate journalism it desires to achieve.

For such concentration is possible only where self-interest is complete,and where self-interest may find compensation for its efforts,whether material or moral compensation,or both.But there is abundant ground for the conviction that in newspaper production self-interest and the public interest are not only compatible but identical.For the fundamental principle,as well as the fundamental aim,of journalism must be the public service,and public service in that field of endeavor is also self-service.That does not mean that a newspaper must be an eleemosynary institution,but that it must render concrete service in the supply of reliable information.

In the development of intelligent opinion,in the support of public rights,in the condemnation of public wrongs,in the advancement of principles and ideals,and in the use of its power to promote and advance the public welfare generally.In so doing,if it does it well,it lays the most solid foundations for public respect,public confidence and public affection,which are not only the most satisfactory spiritual awards of journalism,but the most certain and the most durable of its material assets.

Chapter Ⅲ The Primacy of News

The newspaper is a response to a universal demand and need of human nature for news.

It did not create that demand. On the contrary the demand has always existed,and the newspaper is its necessary and inevitable product.

Therefore the primary function of a newspaper is the publication of news.News is the essential foundation of journalism. All else,even opinion,important as it is,is accessory.

There are,to be sure,journals which deal only with opinion,and their production is in the field of journalism,because it is of necessity based upon news;but they are not newspapers,and they exercise but a single,and secondary,function of journalism.

The primary position of news in the operation of journalism would seem to be so obvious as to need no assertion,but the fact that the principle is often obscured warrants the statement of its primacy with emphasis.Not infrequently concentration on particular policies or purposes,for which the newspaper is a means to an end,results in a relative subordination of the news.Not infrequently attachment to “features” that are not news leads to a preponderance of features at the expense of news.

Occasionally it is assumed that mere entertainment is the first requisite of successful newspaper publication,and in the application of that theory anything that is presumed to be entertaining to the readers,whether news or not,becomes of first importance,at the sacrifice of correct judgment of the relative value of news in its larger and essential sense.

The importance of legitimate purposes,over and above the mere publication of the news,is not to be disparaged.Accomplishments to which the publication of the news is but contributory indeed may be the dominating consideration,But none the less it is essential to maintain the primacy of the news,because it is the necessary foundation of all accomplishment in the field of journalism.Nor should the value of features that are outside the realm of news be denied.

They may have merits in themselves that add considerably to the moral as well as the material weight of the newspaper,as a medium of information,education and entertainment.But it is only as supplementary to the news that they are of advantage.

They cannot take the place of news,nor can they be permitted to overbalance the news without loss to the effectiveness of the paper.

Except as a vehicle for the dissemination of news,and,secondarily,of opinion based upon the news,the newspaper,of course,has no excuse for existence,and the life and the interest of journalism therefore centers upon the news.But what is news?It is as difficult to define with precision as is poetry,because it has no conceivable boundaries or limitations.

It encompasses all humanity and all nature and partakes of their infinite variety.While in a general sense it refers to recent events,occurrences,happenings,it is by no means confined to them.An event in itself is not news.

It is the report of the event that constitutes news,and that report may not be made until years after the occurrence.

It is none the less news.Hitherto unreported facts in connection with the discovery of America would be news.

It is sufficient that it be fresh information. Nor is an occurrence essential.A crop report is not an account of events but of conditions.Yet it is news. Opinions are not occurrences,yet opinions are often news,and news of the greatest importance and interest.What a man thinks may be as truly news as what he does.“If the newspaper has not the news,”says Charles A. Dana,“it may have everything else yet it will be comparatively unsuccessful,and by news I mean everything that occurs,everything which is of human interest,and which is of sufficient importance to arrest and absorb the attention of the public or any considerable part of it.”

Whatever is new in the way of information is news even though the event or the matter to which it refers be old in itself.The mythical mountaineer of Arkansas who first heard of Lee's surrender in 1896 is a fanciful illustration.

It was more than thirty years after the event but it was news to him.It was weeks after the discovery of the North Pole before the world knew anything about it.

The fact was old but the report was news.

In the days before the telegraph,when communication depended upon slowly moving mails or personal conveyance,news was usually days,weeks or even months behind the events.The development of facilities for the transmission of information that puts nearly every part of the world in practically instantaneous communication with every other part,makes it possible for news to be synchronous with events,and so large a proportion of published news relates to matters occurring the day of publication or the day before publication that the term“news”has taken to itself the sense of immediate freshness,and this immediacy becomes to some extent a test of value.

News has thus come to mean almost exclusively reports of the events or conditions of the current day,reports of past events as matters of news becoming exceptional.

But,as Mr. Dana intimates,there is a distinction to be made between news per se and news in the journalistic sense.The individual exchanges news with almost every acquaintance he meets.Most of it,however,is of no interest save to themselves or to a small circle of their friends.It may be of great importance to them but of no importance or interest to others.News,in the interpretation of journalism,must have a certain public interest,a measure of public importance;it must be something,as Mr. Dana expresses it,that will arrest and absorb,for a moment at least,the attention of the public,or a part of it sufficiently large to justify consideration.

Therefore there is always before the editor not only the question,what is news,which he answers instinctively,without any need for precise definition,even if that could be accomplished;but also the question,what is news from the standpoint of journalism,and in particular from the standpoint of his journal,and to answer this requires the exercise of judgment as well as of instinct,involving a discrimination which must be constantly exercised.

This is a matter for later discussion,but in the consideration of the nature of news one finds not merely infinite and intricate variety,but varied stages of development,with numerous and often dramatic or tragic ramifications.

The news of an event may be complete in a single report.All the facts worth presenting are at hand.

They are stated,and the event is dismissed. If it has no sequel it passes into oblivion.A large proportion of news,usually of relative unimportance or interest,is of this character Another class of news is composed of reports of occurrences that are complete in themselves,but which form a succession of events,each leading to another.The series may suddenly end,or it may develop importance progressively,an item of a few lines becoming an unsuspected herald of one that fills pages.On a day in 1914 a report went out,over the wires of the world,of the assassination of a prince in an obscure village of a petty Balkan state.In newspapers far from the scene it was given little space,as a rule.

There were many events of that day that seemed more important to their editors than this remote tragedy.

In itself it was,in fact,of little relative importance.

If it had not been for other events to which it led it would have been forgotten in a few days;but the succeeding events,all growing out of this seemingly unimportant item,developed the greatest news that journalism has ever reported,and filled the pages of newspapers the world over for many tragic years. This,to be sure,is an extraordinary example,but such successions of separate but related events of growing importance,starting with one apparently,or actually,small,are frequent,and the one of the World War serves well to illustrate the possibilities that lie in the chonicles of each day's occurrences.

But there is still another class of news which involves processes of a single event which may or may not arrive at completion.

The news in this class records successive stages of a progressive event,in which every occurrence and all occurrences from day to day,however important in themselves,are but parts of the whole,steps of a continuing process.An election,for example,is an event which completes a long process of developing events in the course of the campaign,all contributing to a single result and never separated from the end to be reached.A political or social reform movement furnishes news of the same nature,continuous and inseparable,which progresses,or endeavors to progress,to a desired end.

A session of congress produces news of a processional nature in which there are many continuing currents of events,currents which may attain completion in achievement or which may disappear in the sands,but which in the process present varied aspects and varied appeals to public interest.

Much news,therefore,and,as a rule,the more important news,is of a serial character,carrying many continued stories of fact,each report a new chapter,each incident a link in a chain.Whether long stories or short they have the attraction of continuity,of expectation,often of surprise,promoting and sustaining interest in the degree in which they touch human emotion and concern.

Each edition of a newspaper is a new creation.And each day's creation is different from that of any other day.Each day brings new material with which to create,material of different pattern,ever varied,never quite the same,and no man can tell what the creation of one day may mean to the future.But through all run threads of continuity which bind each day to every other,making a connected narrative of that complex thing that we call human life,and daily presenting a mirror to life in which it may see itself and know itself.

News,again,may be divided into two classes,one under the head of entertainment,the other under that of information.Such a division can hardly be made absolute,for while there is much news that conveys information without entertainment,there is little news,if any,that is wholly without information.But none the less the two classes exist,governed by the predominance of the one quality or the other,and in a journal designed for general reading,as most journals are,both qualities are of necessity combined.For information without entertainment,however desirable and however valuable,is generally lacking in that attractiveness which is essential to sustained public interest and support.

There are,to be sure,journals devoted exclusively to the publication of information and their value is not to be questioned,but they are usually class publications,created to supply information to certain special interests and having no attraction to readers not concerned in the particular field so covered. If they are not class journals in the sense indicated their circulation is and must be limited to the comparatively small number of people to whom information unalloyed is the chief object of reading,and thus they also become class journals of a sort.

Human nature,prompted by that instinctive curiosity which no human being wholly lacks,wants to know“what is going on.” In very large measure the response to that curiosity is entertainment rather than information.

It is news that excites interest but does not edify in any material degree,if at all.

It is true that the report of every event,however trivial or unimportant it may be,conveys information as to that event,but it is information that is merely a vehicle for entertainment.

The average man,or woman,does not deliberately read a newspaper for instruction or for solid knowledge,but primarily for the satisfaction of curiosity as to the occurrences of the day.His eye is caught and held by that which attracts his interest,and that interest is governed by individual taste,character and association.That which is of absorbing interest to one is of no interest at all to another,but each seeks and finds that which appeals to him,and for the majority the attraction is not learning or knowledge or information in the substantial sense but entertainment.

Therefore the matter of entertainment,which should be distinguished from amusement,is one that cannot be ignored or properly depreciated in the consideration of news.Yet the newspaper would serve no constructive purpose if it confined itself to entertainment.

If,as is here asserted,the primary function of journalism is public service,then the primary duty of journalism is the publication of news that contributes to public service,through the dissemination of actual knowledge of public affairs,of public events,and the principles and motives which actuate them;and through the distribution of information of substance and value which is helpful to the individual in his daily life and in his judgment and activities as a citizen.But,in this dissemination,news whose chief interest is entertainment serves a useful purpose in drawing readers who would not be otherwise attracted to the news of real significance.Used with discrimination it is valuable as a means to an end,but it is a subordinate,not a principal.

Chapter Ⅳ The Selection of News

Journalism deals primarily with news of public interest. It is reporter and publisher of news of events,of conditions,and of processes in the development of public opinion and action,that has somehow touched the public consciousness. It does not create news. Ordinarily it does not seek news until a measure of public attention has been drawn to an event or condition.News is created by the events themselves.Before newspapers existed every occurrence of interest became news as soon as it was known to one who could tell about it,however confidentially,and it was spread in proportion to the degree of public interest it excited.

If there were no newspapers today,events would be reported in some way,by word of mouth from one person to another if no other form of communication existed,and each repetition would add something to the report,decreasing its reliability with the square of the distance,so to speak.Journalism,it is to be admitted,often yields to that weakness of human nature,and distorts or exaggerates news in the telling,but this is a violation,whether it is done consciously or unconsciously,of an elemental principle of journalism.

The task of journalism is to gather and disseminate news that is of public importance,or that has a sufficient measure of public interest,and accuracy is the first principle of action in the performance of that task. In assuming that function of public service it also assumes a definite responsibility for the truth of that which it presents.

In the exercise of discrimination in the selection and treatment of news for publication it is,therefore,essential to consider truth as the first requisite.

The application of that principle is by no means as easy as its statement,and its difficulties will receive attention in a separate chapter.It is mentioned here merely to link it,as it must be linked,with the operation of editorial judgment in the choice of news to be published.

The problem always before the editor,and renewed afresh each day,is,what shall I print,and what reject?This involves much more than a judgment as to propriety or as to relative values of the various items presented on their merits.Each day he is obliged to consider limitations of space.He has so many columnsavailable for news.

The news that comes to him from his various reporting agencies usually far exceeds the space at his disposal.

In consequence he is often obliged to reject much that he would print if the room at his command would permit it.And this space is an unstable quantity.

It varies from day to day,and not infrequently from hour to hour,as other requirements of publication alter in their needs.And the supply of news is as variable in its volume and importance. To-day may be filled with news;tomorrow comparatively newsless.

Today may furnish a great quantity of news. none of which is of much importance;tomorrow may bring a rush of big news commanding many columns for its presentation. Or,again,a relatively uneventful day may proceed to near its end when news of great importance suddenly demands large space for its telling,requiring the rejection of much that is in type or that has been printed perhaps in earlier editions. There is,therefore,a continuous process of selection and rejection,of adjustment and readjustment to events and to mechanical restrictions.

Moreover,the editor never has before him at one time all the news of the day from which to pick and choose in accordance with his deliberate estimate of relative values.

It is coming to him in a flowing stream,and the necessities of time and the limitations of mechanical facilities compel the exercise of his judgment upon a moving current instead of upon a static mass.He cannot see the news of the day as a whole until the printed paper comes to his desk,and then it is too late to exercise his judgment from the viewpoint of the whole.

But not withstanding these inescapable difficulties under which editorial judgment labors there is and must be discrimination in the selection of news,and it is largely upon the quality of that discrimination that journalism depends,both for its success and for its usefulness.Where that discrimination is wise and its standards high journalism attains its loftiest elevation and contributes most to public service.But in the exercise of it there are many things to be considered.

The first principle of selection is the measure of public interest.

Interest is the essential quality in the major part of the news chosen for publication,for it is interest and interest alone that makes a newspaper attractive and therefore salable, A newspaper that is uninteresting is unsalable and the greater the public interest in the news it presents the larger its sales.Unless a newspaper is sold,it is worth while to repeat,it is not read,and if it is not read it is of no value for any purpose,howsoever elevated,that prompts its publication.

The appetite of the public for news that appeals to its interest cannot be ignored.And the value of any single item of news is to be measured by the degree and extent of the interest it is likely to arouse.

That is not the sole test upon which judgment should be founded,as will be shown,and it is subject to limitations,but it is the primary test.

But how is the degree of public interest in an item to be gauged or estimated in advance of publication?The“news sense”is a necessary quality in every successful newspaper man.

It is an intuitive appreciation that is partly instinctive and partly the result of experience in discrimination.

It is his first and surest dependence.But nevertheless there are elemental principles which he consciously recognizes and applies.

First of all,interest is measured by proximity.We,all of us,are particularly concerned in that which touches us personally,that which affects our friends or acquaintances,that which affects our neighborhood or community.

In the case of a fire,for example,the persons most concerned are those who dwell in the building;next in degree of interest are those who live next door and after them those who live in the same block or who see the fire.

Those who live farther away or did not see it have still less interest,but all who live in the city where it occurs have a livelier interest in this fire,whatever its magnitude,than have those who live in a neighboring city.

Interest in any event that is not national in its scope decreases with the distance from the scene of the event.

The death of a President is of practically as much interest in San Francisco as in Washington.

The interest in any important act of government that is of national significance is not to be measured by relative proximity.

There are certain events,too,that make such an appeal to human interest everywhere that they have an equal news value everywhere.But in the ordinary run of events news value decreases with distance.It follows that local news has a peculiar importance of its own and a certain precedence.

Indeed it is largely by community interest that journalism is sustained.Without due respect for,and response to,that interest,comparatively few newspapers could exist,and many of them helpfully and profitably limit themselves to the local field,leaving to others the task of supplying general news. These others,however,cannot exclude local news.Whatever their scope,however world-wide their field,and their newsgathering facilities,they cannot ignore nor depreciate the home news.Community interest is the basis of virtually all journalism,the hub around which journalism revolves,the bread upon the table of journalism's subsistence.

The factor of proximity,therefore,has large weight in the judgment of news values.

Local interest,however,may be manifest in an event occurring at a distance.Recurring to the illustration of the fire in the preceding paragraph,the man who owned the house,if not himself dwelling therein,would be as much concerned in the event as those who inhabited the building.And that concern would be as active if he lived a thousand miles away.

The people of a certain town,to present another illustration,have invested heavily in the stock of a manufacturing company whose plant is in a distant state,or possibly in a foreign country.The destruction of that plant would be news of local interest,though the event itself would not be local.A prominent citizen of a town is murdered at some place far away from home.

The news of the crime is perhaps of as much interest in that town as if the event itself had occurred there.We are all especially interested not only in occurrences in our own community but in occurrences anywhere that particularly involve or concern the people or the welfare of our community.

But happily our interest in the news is not limited to our individual or community associations.While these most intimately and directly concern us,we want to know what is going on elsewhere in the world.And the response to this interest,and its encouragement,constitutes one of the most important tasks of journalism.For the wider the field of our interests the larger the field of knowledge from which we may draw,and the broader our understandings and sympathies.

In the selection of such news the principle of relative proximity,or association,is still of importance,interest ordinarily decreasing with the distance,as has been said.

There are many and important exceptions to this rule,but none the less it is not to be ignored in the choice of general news.There is,first of all,a regional field about the point of publication to be considered,the territory outside its own particular community in which the newspaper circulates more or less extensively. The news of this region has special claims to consideration,second only to local news,and is judged by much the same principles of relative values.

The state as a whole may come within this field,or only a part of it may be included,but in either case the official news of the state,the operations of state government,is of prime importance,having more or less interest to every part of the state and to every individual within it. News of the action or proposals of the federal government is,of course,of particular interest to every section of the country,as a rule,without regard to distance from the seat of government,but there is much news from this source of special local or sectional interest which it is the province of journalism to distinguish. The foreign news that is of most interest,generally speaking,is that which touches or affects our own national relations,whether political,economic or social,but still we may be vastly interested in an event which does not touch us at all,particularly if it has dramatic elements.

But in the selection of all news. whether local,regional,state or national,certain elemental principles apply.

The first consideration it should be repeated,is the presumption of public interest and the estimate of the measure of that interest.

This is not the only consideration,and it is the duty of journalism to publish much news that is lacking in public interest.But nevertheless public interest is to be desired as to all news,and as to most news it is essential if the newspaper is to have readers.But aside from proximity or personal concern. Already discussed,what are the qualities in news that appeal to public interest?

Most active among these is that quality that is termed “human interest,”which may be defined as an appeal to the emotional rather than to intellectual appreciation,an appeal to instinct rather than to thought.This embraces the whole drama of life in all its varied and contrasting aspects.Tragedy and comedy,suffering,sorrow and joy,pleasure and pain,virtue and vice,riches and poverty,destruction and construction,are all to be found in the news of the day,appealing to human sympathy,pity,admiration and emulation,to righteous indignation and condemnation,as well as often to baser instincts.

At the basis of the sources of human interest,for example,may be placed the universal attraction of a struggle between opposing forces of any character.Life itself being a continuous conflict it follows that conflict not only produces more news but arouses a greater degree of interest,in the generality of mankind,than anything else.Whether the contest is one of skill or of strength,one of principles or of force,whether it is material,intellectual or spiritual,the fight's the thing that appeals most strongly to human interest. The sporting pages and their myriad readers testify to this attraction,and it is this instinctive attraction which draws absorbing attention to the news of a prize fight or a war,of a political campaign,of a conflict between capital and labor,of the trials in court,of moral and religious controversies.

Some of these,to be sure,involve intellectual understanding and appreciation,but no contest ever reaches so high an elevation of intellect or spirituality that there is no element of interest in the fight simply as a fight. And that is not an instinct to be disparaged,however low some of its manifestations may be.

There can be no progress without struggle,and it is essential to progress that there be a public interest in the struggle from which to draw support for the advancement.

But in the technical sense the term “human interest” is seldom applied to matters of large importance.

It pertains more particularly to the sentiments and attractions of social relations,the minor manifestations of humanity or inhumanity,the things that appeal to the heart,to the passions of hatred,avarice,envy or lust,or merely to the curiosity,whether legitimate or illegitimate,as to the condition,movement and conduct of others; things, in short, that may have much of bad or good in them. This class of news is so elemental in its appeal,so attractive to the larger number of people,that the temptation to fill columns with it,to draw special attention to it with big headlines,to seek for it when it does not appear upon the surface of events,to create it by the exaggeration and expansion of trifles,is very great,and in no department of newspaper publication is the privilege and responsibility of journalism so much abused as in this one.

But human interest in the broader sense referred to,and,with limitations,in the more restricted technical sense,is the great reservoir from which journalism legitimately draws extensive support,and thereby contributes to its own influence and value in the public service through the enlargement of the field to which it supplies information and opinion.Moreover,emotional depression rightly directed,has its uses,and is often as important as intellectual impression.At times it is even more important,for many of the greatest advances of civilization have been secured through the sweep of emotions aroused by information.

It is no less true that the baser emotions may be aroused in the same way,and it is the task of the conscientious journalist so to discriminate in the selection of news of this character,and so to balance the essential publication of the events of wrongdoing that ever color the news of the day,with the news of the good and with instructive and constructive information,that the total and constant impression of his journal is for the betterment and advancement of society.

And this brings us to the chief function of journalism,the publication of news that has intrinsic value as information,that is essentially instructive through the impartation of knowledge helpful to the individual or the public,that spreads enlightenment as to events of real merit and concern and as to the relations and meanings of such events. Such news may or may not be interesting to the average reader,but the newspaper that fails to supply it in due measure,according to the field it occupies,is neglecting its duty to the public and is evading the obligations laid upon the press generally by the protective laws which give it a peculiar status.

Interest,it has been said,is the first requisite of news from the standpoint of journalism.News may have interest without value save as entertainment.Entertainment,however,is an inducement to circulation,and therefore to wider reading of the whole paper,that is not to be entirely neglected.But this class of news is a means to an end,and that end is the larger dissemination of that news of information having intrinsic value which is here under consideration. News of this character may have,and often does have,a public interest as wide and absorbing as the news of mere entertainment.

It may,indeed,take first place in the public interest.

There is,therefore,news,much news,which has both interest and value,and such news is the best news.But there is also news of importance and value that is lacking in public interest which it is continuously necessary to print if journalism is to fulfill its responsibility to th e public.

“Table-talk”, says Herbert Spencer,“proves that nine out of ten people read what amuses them or interests them rather than what instructs them.”The truth of this is not to be denied,and the recognition and application of this principle is essential to successful journalism,whatever its purposes.But this does not alter the fact that instruction is as necessary to the nine as to the one;and for a very great deal of instruction,essential to the:maintenance of democracy and to material and spiritual progress along many lines,the newspaper is the only vehicle of knowledge,the only didactic instrument.

It is the task of the newspaper to chronicle the events of the day,and it is its duty to give space to news of importance,which the public should know,even though the public lacks interest in it.

It is its duty to inform and instruct,to inform and instruct,continuously,as to important matters developing in the news,even in the face of public indifference.

For that is one of the obligations of journalism.And notwithstanding indifference it is never lost motion. For there is always at least the one in ten who seeks instruction,and the aggregate of all of the ones in all of the tens is not only considerable but it generally comprises the most influential elements in any community.

In effect,therefore,it is much more than one in ten.But that is not all. The reader who does not seek news of this character and does not want it can rarely escape some impress from it,however slight.To find what he desires he must at least glance at the headlines which call attention to and briefly epitomize the news of the day.Each of these catches his eye for an instant,and from each he has acquired,willy-nilly,a bit of the information it conveys.Moreover,if he recognizes in that fleeting glance that here is something important,something that he ought to know about,regardless of his personal interest,if he is not to appear ignorant before others,he gives more than a cursory reading of headlines to the item,and often finds himself interested where he least expected to be.

But it is frequently the duty,and the pleasure,of the editor to cultivate public interest in news of this nature.

Indeed,it is in the stimulation of public interest in matters of public concern that journalism contributes most to public service.Local movements for civic betterment,for example,are largely dependent upon popular support,and such support can seldom be obtained until popular interest has been awakened through continuous newspaper publicity and advocacy. Of still greater importance,though perhaps of less intimate concern to the individual or to the community,is the stimulation of public interest in state,national and international matters,to much of which the public is normally indifferent and requires the urge of persistent information and comment.

In the publication of news,therefore,journalism does not fulfill its obligations,either to itself or to the public,when it makes immediate interest the sole test of judgment in determining what to print.On the other hand,it cannot best serve itself or serve the public unless it makes interest the predominant consideration in such determination. Most news,that is to say,must be selected on the basis of the interest it is likely to awaken at sight in the average reader of the publication,and in that judgment human instincts,human sentiments and human emotions,as well as human intelligence,must be considered and served;but there is much news that it is the duty of journalism to print regardless of public interest.

Chapter Ⅴ The Rejection of News

It has been shown that constant and varying limitations of available space compel a constant adjustment of news to meet the varying restrictions of room.Always there is more news than can be printed.Always there must be more or less rejection and condensation. The newspaper does not create events nor do events consider its convenience.

It must take events as they come,whether in great volume or less,and adjust accounts of events to the capacity of publication.

The item that is rejected today might have found a place yesterday.

The item that fills a column today might have been entirely excluded,or greatly condensed,yesterday.Or an item accepted early in the day may be necessarily rejected before the paper goes to press.

Conditions under which discrimination is exercised are,therefore,different each day and change with the hours.But in reducing the volume of news to fit the capacity of publication that which is of least importance or of least interest is first sacrificed,the effort being to crowd into the paper,not all of the news of the day,for that is rarely,if ever,possible,but the best of the news.

In the exercise of this discrimination the editors in direct charge of the news must act upon their judgment of news values,and act instantly as a rule.When doubt arises there may be deliberation and conference,but in the daily publication there is little time or opportunity for this.

In nearly all cases immediate decision is essential.

In the continuous stream of news that flows through the hands of news editors items are accepted or rejected,given full space or condensed,upon their instantaneous estimate of relative importance or interest,always,however,under the restraints of varying conditions of available space,always subject to sudden and unexpected demands for space for fresh and important news,requiting radical readjustment of all that has been done,and the elimination or reduction of much that has been previously accepted.

In all other productive enterprise the relation between demand and capacity is comparatively uniform,or is at least calculable for a short period of time.

The editor is always confronted by unknown quantities. Each day he begins a new creation with no definite knowledge of the volume or the nature of the materials with which he must create. He has,to be sure,the expectation of certain pre-announced events,and he has certain routine sources of daily news,but he does not know what will develop from them nor what they will demand from him.No foreknowledge or prescience can enable him to see through the day,or even through an hour,to make definite calculations in advance.The news,most of it utterly unexpected,may come to him in a steady flow or it may fall upon him as an avalanche. He knows not,nor can he know,what the day may bring forth.All he can be sure of is that he will have more news than he can print,and that he must be prepared for the worst.

And his task differs from other productive enterprise in that he is dealing wholly with ephemeral materials. In the manufacture of a newspaper the principal raw material is news.

In all other manufacturing material that which is not used today may be used tomorrow or later.

It may be perishable,as in the canning industry,for example,but not immediately so.

There is no necessity for waste of good stock.But news that cannot be used at once,today,is generally worthless tomorrow.Moreover,in all other manufacturing the supply of raw material can be regulated by the capacity of production.

The editor cannot regulate supply.He must take each day all the news that comes to him through his established sources,no matter how great the volume may be.All that he cannot use is waste,unavoidable and irrecoverable waste.And this waste is not limited to the news he rejects upon examination. The uncertainty with which he constantly contends compels the daily sacrifice of much that is accepted and “put in type.”Usually every daily newspaper has more news in type each day than it can find room for on its pages and this excess,or “overset,”is waste that to some degree is inescapable.

Knowledge of all these conditions is necessary to an understanding of the difficulties under which diurnal journalism labors and must labor. The newspaper must be created within the day.

It must be created from materials of varying nature and volume.It must take all the news that comes to it,but it can print no more than its pages will hold.Necessarily,therefore,judgment as to what shall or shall not be printed must be exercised with rapidity upon a flowing current that may be at one moment a gentle stream and at the next a freshet.Necessarily,also,more or less news must be rejected solely because of space limitations,and frequently news that has been accepted and put in type must even then be rejected for the same reason.

The fact that an item of news is not published indicates either that the judgment of the editor as to its value,from the standpoint of interest or importance or propriety,warrants its rejection on its merits,or that mechanical limitations compel its rejection as relatively unimportant or uninteresting to the readers of the publication,in comparison with other news of the particular day which is printed.

A veteran newspaperman once said that the judgment of “what not to print”was the supreme test of editorial ability. This may be an exaggeration,but at any rate the negative side of discrimination is as important as the positive.The limitations of space compel a continuous balancing of values for this reason alone-upon a basis of value that may vary with each day or each hour,according to the volume of news.Often the weight of a hair influences the decision for or against publication,but judgment upon each item must be rendered and rendered instantly.To kill an item that ought to be used is as bad judgment as to use an item that ought to be killed. But all this refers to decision in response to the insistent demands of space.Decisions upon the considerations of safety and considerations of propriety are no less essential and no less important.

The newspaper is responsible under the law,and may be held to answer in civil or criminal proceedings,for injury done to persons by untruthful statements affecting their reputation or welfare.

The truth is no libel,but the truth is not always clear,nor the means of substantiation certain.Moreover,there is no agreement among legal authorities as to what constitutes a libel. Libel suits are unprofitable even when the newspaper is vindicat-ed,and unless some distinctive public service justifies the risk,no avoidable opportunity for action at libel should be given.Yet it is the business of the newspaper to print the news;that is the primary purpose of its existence;and in doing this it is constantly in danger of unconsciously perpetrating a libel,or of publishing something that prompts an action for libel. No respectable newspaper libels any man with intent. No such newspaper prints a statement reflecting upon the integrity of any man unless it believes it to be true and its publication justified as a matter of news.Both self-interest and right demand that libelous charges,which mean false charges,be avoided.

It is,therefore,the task of the editor to scrutinize all news with care and to reject all items containing charges that would be libelous if untrue,if the evidence of truth is not clear,or to eliminate any statements that hold the danger of action at law.There is a general rule of the railway-tram service which applies equally well to this,which is,“in case of doubt always take the safe side,”and it was a frequent warning of the veteran editor already quoted that “you never get a libel suit for what you don't print.”Considerations of safety require a careful discrimination in the matter of news for the rejection of that which is libelous.

But considerations of propriety are also importantly involved in that discrimination.

It has been said that there is a difference between giving the people what they want and giving them what they ought not to have. But what is it that the people ought not to have?“There is a great disposition in some quarters,”said Chas. A. Dana,once upon a time,“to say that the newspapers ought to limit the amount of news they print;that certain kinds of news ought not to be published.

I do not Know how that is.

I am not prepared to maintain any abstract position on that line;but I have always felt that whatever the Divine Providence permitted to occur I was not too proud to report.”But in practice few editors exercised a finer discrimination than he between news that was “fit to print”and news that was not,recognizing by his own editorial management that there was a distinction,that there were lines beyond which respectable journalism could not go in the publication of news.

The printing of news of crime and vice presents a problem about which there has been much controversy,both within and without the field of journalism.

This is the class of news to which Mr. Dana referred in the remark quoted,and it was to the contention,from without,that such news should be rejected [WTBX]in toto[WTBZ] that he applied the view that has become a classical utterance in journalism.And in principle his position is correct.

News of crime and vice should be printed.

It is not only proper to print such news but it is a public duty to print it.Crime and vice constitute problems with which society must constantly deal.And if it is to deal with them with any degree of effectiveness it must have knowledge of them,of their nature,extent,and the forces and influences behind them.Public opinion is as important a factor in the prevention,suppression or punishment of crime as in any other field of human activity,but public opinion is never exercised in any field until it is aroused by public events.Crime and vice are menaces to society,and as such must be continuously and actively opposed by the agencies which society creates for its protection.But in the protection of society the law,the courts and the police must have the public support which can only come from a measure of acquaintance with the facts and conditions with which they have to deal.

If the news of this character were suppressed the people would be deprived of the only general and constant source of knowledge as to such events.

All social progress is dependent upon information. If we do not know there is wrong,how are we to perceive the need of right?If we do not know what is wrong,how are we to know what to attack?If we do not know the extent of wrong,how are we to arouse and array the forces of good?Right is might only when its eyes are open,only when it sees and appraises the power opposed to it,and only when it is urged to action by the knowledge of the danger that confronts it.

To suppress the news of evil would be to blind the eyes of right and to deceive it with a sense of security in the face of peril.Evil always flourishes most in the darkness.It grows upon concealment.It fattens under public indifference resulting from ignorance of its activities.

It is essential that the light of publicity be thrown upon it,that its nature,its scope and its habits be revealed.The publication of evil is a public duty and a public service.

But aside from that there is a constant public interest in things evil.Is this interest wrong? It is a universal instinct of humanity.Are we given any instinct that is not designed primarily to promote our welfare?Granting that much evil,possibly all evil,grows out of the abuse or misapplication of instinct,is it not true that our instincts normally operate for our good?“The active part of man,”says Newman,“consists of powerful instincts.Some are gentle and continuous,others violent and short;some baser,some nobler,all necessary.”The proper use of our instincts never causes evil;it is only their abuse that creates it.And this abuse is a departure from normality.We are interested in crime because it is abnormal,and this interest,in reference to society in general,is self-protective.

It makes evil conspicuous,impresses it upon our consciousness and our imagination,compels us to examine it,to realize its wrong and its dangers,and constantly to fortify ourselves against it.Here and there the associated instincts of imitation or acquisition may make interest an influence for evil in certain individuals,but generally speaking its result is an abhorrence of,and an antagonism toward,evil.

If this were not so goodness would long since have perished from the earth.For mankind has ever been attracted by the abnormality of

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