The Thinking Journalist

Mark Hanna used to say:
“When a dog
bites a man,
it is not news;
but when a man
bites a dog,
it is news.”
To let everybody know
that a man
has bitten a dog
is not good news;
it is bad news.

To tell everybody
that a man died
leaving two million dollars,
may be journalism,
but it is not
good journalism.
But to tell everybody
that the man died
leaving two million dollars
because he did not know
how to take them with him
by giving them to the poor
for Christ’s sake
during his lifetime
is good journalism.
Good journalism
is to give the news
and the right comment
on the news.
The value of journalism
is the value of the comment
given with the news.

To be a good journalist
is to say something interesting
about interesting things
or interesting people.
The news is the occasion
for the journalist
to convey his thinking
to unthinking people.
Nothing can be done
without public opinion,
and the opinion
of thinking people
who know how
to transmit their thinking
to unthinking people.

A diary is a journal
where a thinking man
records his thinking.
The Journal Intime
of Frederic Amiel
is the record of the thinking
of Frederic Amiel.
The thinking journalist
imparts his thinking
through a newspaper
by relating his thinking
to the news of the day.
By relating his thinking
to the news of the day.
the thinking journalist
affects public opinion.

By affecting public opinion,
the thinking journalist
is a creative agent
in the making of news
that is fit to print.
The thinking journalist
is not satisfied
to be just a recorder
of modern history.
The thinking journalist
aims to be a maker
of that kind of history
that is worth recording.