PBS | Ombudsman | Lehrer’s Rules

This from PBS ombudsman Michael Getler on Jim Lehrer’s sign-off last week:

PBS | Ombudsman | Lehrer’s Rules:

One of the things that has not changed, however, is Lehrer’s unwavering approach to journalism. So, in closing that final broadcast on Dec. 4 and providing a glimpse of the forthcoming new look, Lehrer said:

“I promise you, one thing is never going to change. And that’s our mission. People often ask me if there are guidelines in our practice of what I like to call MacNeil/Lehrer journalism. Well, yes, there are. And here they are:

  • Do nothing I cannot defend.
  • Cover, write and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
  • Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
  • Assume the viewer is as smart and as caring and as good a person as I am.
  • Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
  • Assume personal lives are a private matter, until a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
  • Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories, and clearly label everything.
  • Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes, except on rare and monumental occasions.
  • No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
  • And, finally, I am not in the entertainment business.”
  • (Via PBS with a tip o’the hat to John Gruber over at Daring Fireball for drawing my attention to it.)

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