Journalism Quotes for Students

Journalism quotes add authenticity to an article, bringing to life the opinions and feelings of your sources. They also help humanize dry facts.

Tidying up a quote typically involves removing ‘ums’ and ‘ers’, and correcting tense or syntax. It should never change the meaning of what someone says, though.

A good journalist paraphrases dry facts but directly quotes the emotions, opinions, and promises of their sources.

The Fourth Estate

In a world where misinformation and hidden agendas can easily cloak itself, journalism is an essential tool for illuminating the dark places. This powerful quote by Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of Rappler, encapsulates the essence of journalism’s role: to shine a light in darkness and hold those in power accountable.

This sentiment echoes the founding ideals of Joseph Pulitzer, who proclaimed that his paper should “always fight for progress and reform; never tolerate injustice or corruption; always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers; never lack sympathy with the poor.”

Journalists are responsible for bringing light to the darkness and exposing wrongdoing regardless of potential consequences. This is what makes the Fourth Estate such an important part of democracy and what has earned journalists the title of the fourth estate throughout history. It’s a privilege to be in this position and it’s important that students understand this.

The Power of the Press

When a poor family in the middle of nowhere becomes famous because their quintuplets survive, it’s a dramatic example of how a powerful story can shape public sentiment.

It’s a reminder that our democracy depends on an independent press to keep government officials accountable. Without that, we can’t have a well-functioning society.

In this early Frank Capra film, Douglas Fairbanks portrays a journalist who is not afraid to stand up for his principles. He believes the press is the “last bulwark” against despotism.

While Leonard wisely focuses on how the muckrakers fed political anxieties in an era that saw growing social, economic and familial change, he also shows how this style of journalism may have contributed to declining voter turnout. That’s a lesson that journalists should not forget. They should resist shaping their coverage to appease activist and interest groups, even when those interests or activists are right. Otherwise, they run the risk of turning into lapdogs.

The Power of Truth

Many people who engage in journalism say that it is an essential moral duty to tell the truth. And yet, when the time comes to make choices about which facts and opinions to publish, which sources to include or exclude, or how to present them, they often struggle with a fundamental question: What does the truth mean?

Across the ideological spectrum, critics argue that journalism should move away from its current model. They call for a return to the era before Pulitzer, in which news organizations prioritized readership and responsibility over advertisers and media monopolies.

They also call for a more transparent process, in which the public is consulted about what matters most to them. And they argue that journalists should abandon notions like objectivity, which they believe enshrines a straight white male perspective and insulates existing power structures from scrutiny. Navigating these criticisms has become one of the most challenging parts of being a journalist today.

The Power of Words

In a news article, words are a powerful tool for conveying information and creating an argument. The word choice of a journalist can influence the overall tone and credibility of a story. A reporter should avoid using inflammatory words, which will alienate readers. This may include choosing less harsh words to describe a situation or person, such as turning a “hero Good Samaritan” into a “hero” or describing a “disruption” into a “fracas.”

Instead, journalists should directly quote emotions, opinions, and promises that are voiced by sources. Direct quotes should be placed in quotation marks to clarify that they are the source’s own words and not the journalist’s. However, journalist should change things as little as possible when quoting sources. This typically involves removing a few ‘ums and ers’ and correcting tense or syntax. It should never involve making a source sound smarter or dumber. The goal is to capture the original meaning and intention of the source’s statement.

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