Look South

By Dave South

Rules by Jim Lehrer of PBS The NewsHour

I found an article discussing Jim Lehrer’s — as in The Newshour with Jim Lehrer — rules for journalism. The PBS Column, Lehrer’s Rules discusses the voracity of these rules in today’s pile of mass media. It’s good reading, but the best part are the rules themselves. Every journalist should study these rules.

Jim Lehrer’s Rules

  • 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.“

Read the whole story, Lehrer’s Rules on the PBS Ombudsman website.