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The Duty of a Public Journalist

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Too often we see journalists vilified or criticised for doing their job, or not doing it. Like all professions there are good and bad. However, it is the freedoms we all hold dear that are protected by good journalism and that duty is summarised in this diplomatic preamble written in the Spalding Free Press on February 8th 1876.

"The duty of a public journalist is not always a pleasant or agreeable one. Circumstances not unfrequently occur which compel him to indulge in criticisms which he would rather avoid; inasmuch as he is certain to give offence where none is intended, and to have motives imputed to him which do not exist. If he is honest to himself and the community to whom he serves it is absolutely certain that he will occasionally wound feelings which he never intended, and probably make enemies of some whose good-will he would rather retain. But the honest journalist cannot help himself. He is the servant of the public, and the public looks to the press not only to chronicle passing events, but to expose and correct errors which are apt to creep in in the conducting of public affairs; and to-day we have to call the attention of our readers to a piece of gross irregularity, mismanagement, or whatever it may be called."

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