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October 27, 2006



Is journalism morally shallow? Absolutely, resolutely, proudly, even profoundly shallow. Shallowness is our calling card, our signature. Some of us practically boast of shallowness, as if an aversion to deepness of any sort represents some sort of smug populist virtue.

To have depth -- be it in morality, or memory, or scholarship, or expertise -- is to be called to something beyond the whims of our ever-flitting attention span. It requires that we stand for honest criticism and take it squarely. For whatever reason, we want none of that, choosing instead the glib shallowness of the easily sold.

Is journalism morally shallow? Is the Pope Catholic?

John Ettorre

Wonderfully written, as always, Doug. And as always you ask some important questions. And my answer would be that the relative moral standing of journalism can't really be judged in the collective, though of course we can draw some general conclusions.

I know more than a few journalists who think very hard and quite deeply about the moral implications of their work. But do they constitute the profession's norms? Probably not. And will they be under ever-increasing pressure to dispense with their moral compass in favor of what works more easily as they climb the professional ladder into newsroom management (if indeed they don't end up migrating into PR)? I don't doubt that will be the case. But in the end, thoughtful discussions such as those found here will have an effect on some individuals. And journalism's honor and moral compass can only be restored and enhanced one individual at a time.


I dunno....I've seen a lot more responsibility on some blogs these days when compared to a desperate Newspaper, like the Owatonna People's Press for instance.

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