Unfortunately, what we consider newsworthy may be a far cry from what the news media wants to cover. There are few in the profession who reflect the true ideals of journalism, which anchors on fairness and accuracy.
Why should it be difficult today to produce the likes of Vernon Jarrett, founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists?
Jarrett, whose career started at the Chicago Defender, practiced his profession in the large democratic tradition of W.E.B. DuBois.
He championed the under-reported plight of African- Americans. The news media has a history of selecting what Black issues it wants to cover — and thankfully since the genesis of the Obama dispensation some newsrooms, feeling guilty, are learning to pronounce diversity with meaning — and Jarrett’s presence at the time at papers like the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times sought to make a noticeable difference.
Consider this: Many journalists today have been awarded the Joseph Pulitzer Prize, yet many don’t aspire to be like Joseph Pulitzer.
“We will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, and always fight demagogues of all parties, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty,” Pulitzer wrote in the New York World newspaper in May of 1883.
Pulitzer in another article that appeared in the North American Review in 1904 placed the burden of shaping the nation’s future in the hands of journalists.
“A CYNICAL, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations,” Pulitzer wrote.
If that is the kind of passion that motivated Joseph Pulitzer’s work to be a watershed in American journalism, the news media has lost it.
And Time Inc has an obligation to find it at this time in history, not only to the memory of Joseph Pulitzer and in keeping with the sacred tenets and sanctity of journalism, but for everyone in Detroit to be fair and balanced in their coverage of a city that has been so misunderstood and misled — often deliberately — to the detriment of its future.
I invited Steven Gray, the house manager and correspondent for Time who is assigned to Detroit to come and explain to our readers and viewers on the “Center Stage” TV show about the media conglomerate’s decision to dedicate one year to Detroit. He recently took me up on my offer .
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