The Journalist’s Creed

creedRegular social media participant Lew sent this reminder of The Journalist’s Creed, written in 1814 by the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams.

One century after he made it, Williams’ declaration remains one of the clearest statements of the principles, values and standards of journalists throughout the world. The plaque bearing the creed is located on the main stairway to the second floor of Neff Hall:

  • I believe in the profession of journalism.
  • I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
  • I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
  • I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
  • I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
  • I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
  • I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
  • I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.

Categories: Journalism

6 replies »

  1. Thank you Norm. Talk show host Ian Jessop, formerly of CFAX1070 radio in Victoria exemplified these standards. They’re not appreciated by everyone, nor are they given any value.


  2. Things are different in modern times. I just got an email advising of news that’s trending this afternoon:

    – Actor David Duchovny is appearing on video with his dog to launch ‘Lick My Face’ campaign.
    – NASCAR driver is painting his car to honour his dead grandfather.
    – Country musician sharing videos of himself and family playing on inflatable water slide.

    If those are the subjects that matter to more than a handful of young adults today, we’re in bigger trouble than I realized.


  3. Unfortunately BC’s press gallery serves only to comfort the comfortable. They see no conflict in speaking to the very organizations they’re supposed to be reporting on. I assume those speakers fees can be quite lucrative. I also assume they’re under no obligation to report those fees to anyone,unlike the politicians they cover whose salaries are public domain (Unless you’re the Premier of course!)


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