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The Journalist’s Creed was written by the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, Walter Williams. One century later, his declaration remains one of the clearest statements of the principles, values and standards of journalists throughout the world.
Wanda Brown of Harrisonville unveils the Journalist’s Creed plaque on the MPA building in Columbia with the help of her daughter, Mary James, and her son-in-law, Bill James, right. Missouri Press Executive Director Doug Crews is on the left. Wanda and her family donated money to have the plaque cast and installed in memory of her late husband, J.W. Brown, Jr., a longtime publisher and benefactor of Missouri Press Association. The plaque was cast in Utah. The plaque dedication ceremony was held May 5, 2005, after the annual meeting of the board of directors of the Missouri Press Foundation.
The Journalist's Creed
I believe in the profession of journalism.
I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.
– Walter Williams