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The elements of journalism are:
* Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.
* Its first loyalty is to citizens.
* Its essence is a discipline of verification.
* Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
* It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
* It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
* It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
* It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
* Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
Bill Kovach was editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Washington bureau chief for the New York Times and curator of the Nieman Journalism Fellowship program at Harvard. He was founding chairman of The Committee of Concerned Journalists. Tom Rosenstiel is executive director of the American Press Institute, founder of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a former media critic for the Los Angeles Times, and chief congressional correspondent for Newsweek. He and Kovach have written two other books together.
-At a time when technological and financial forces are creating formidable challenges to journalism's traditional values, Kovach and Rosenstiel have written an immensely valuable primer on who we are, what we do, and how we should do it.- -- David Halberstam -The Elements of Journalism is a remarkable book that does a superb job of describing the problems, articulating the values, outlining the risks, and offering understandable and practical ways to respond to the difficulties of the present state of journalism. The Elements of Journalism ought to become required reading for every institution (and individual) engaged in journalism.- -- Neil Rudenstine, President, Harvard University -Of the many books that have been written about reporting the news, this one best captures the shortcomings, subtleties, and possibilities of modern journalism. It deserves to become as indispensable to journalists and journalism students as The Elements of Style.- -- Tom Goldstein, Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University -In an age when partisan rancor and ratings-driven showmanship have crowded out the more subtle virtues of solid journalism, Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach provide a timely refresher course in the importance of press fundamentals. They remind us that at its best, journalism is a high public calling, and all those who practice it have a deeper obligation to their readers and viewers than to the demands of the market.- -- David Talbot, editor-in-chief, Salon.com