2020-09-29

Reporting news versus expressing an opinion

There is big difference between news reporting and expressing an opinion. Unfortunately, not too many people can distinguish between the two. News reports are supposed to be the result of thorough investigation performed by journalists who verified their accuracy. Writers have the responsibility to provide a balanced perspective without fear.

It was no less than the late Filipino journalist Luis Beltran who coined in his column the term “envelope journalism”. He obviously referred to the amount of cash contained in an envelope which some unscrupulous journalists received to write favorably about the donor in his column. Quite often, lobbyists will look for a columnist willing to accept money to lambaste one’s enemy. Over the years, many journalists have been killed standing for their principles. These are men of integrity who cannot be bought and who certainly do not practice “envelope journalism”.

Freedom of the press can also be stymied by the need to generate advertising. Journalists have a responsibility to remain impartial. Most columnists however, take a position on certain issues but nevertheless have a grave accountability to the reading public. But taking a stand must only happen in the interest of public service. Readers are cautioned not to take everything they read in newspapers as Bible truth.