In front of a crowd of Emerson College students and faculty, Alex Jones, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and the author of Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy, spoke about the media. “My belief is that journalism is about truth…the greatest agent of change is truth,” said Jones. But Jones wasn’t at Emerson to give a speech about truth. “I want to make the case for dispassion… If truth stops the world will be a difficult one.” Jones stated, “If the institution loses ethnical standards then they will slip away.”
In the opening of his speech last Thursday in front of about 150 people, Jones mentioned a recent phone call he received from a journalist in Italy. This journalist told Jones, “Italian journalists are literally in fear of their lives.” Jones responded to this story by talking about how free press is a fragile creature and how this rare commodity is in danger. “What is happening in Italy is that practicing truth is having a tough time,” Jones stated.
Jones took his listeners back into the history of the news. “Before the printing press news was kept tight…then when the telegraph came time and distance limits collapsed,” told Jones. “With these innovations of technology all of the sudden news business was a business with its main purpose to make money.”
With the boom of this business Jones talked about how the newspaper created values and built institutions like the New York Time with their main purpose was to bound us and made us feel like a community. “Newspapers told what was happening but people weren’t that interested. They are more interested in the Red Sox, Britney Spears, and comics…The people who bought the newspaper for that reason subsidized the main purpose,” said Jones.
“I welcome the digital age…but I don’t want to see anything happen is to the values that feed democracy,” stated Jones. With that, Jones talked about values journalist should have. “Objectivity is about dispassion…what changes the world, changes minds…An objective journalist lets results show,” said Jones.
Jones discussed journalism ethics and stated, “The difficulty when it come to ethics, when you have a piece of information when the president begs you not to publish it…when sphere the ethical code should apply…you have obligations as a citizen.” Jones said one should not forget about the Human hat and not to leave humanity behind.
In his book, Jones talks more about journalism ethics. “No profession does more to own up to publicity to its ethical lapses than the battered corps of traditional journalism, especially newspaper journalist”(Jones, 103). Jones continues in his book by discussing how this kind of journalism ethics is very much at risk as news organizations are moving rapidly toward “the more elastic standards of tabloid journalism and nonobjective news coverage” (Jones 103).
In the closing of his speech Jones stated,“You’re getting into a job that’s a powerful job…you need to be tough, kind, ruthless…need to be all these given things…this is the glory about being a journalist…power comes with a set of obligations and you get to play God and when you do play God you have to be real careful.”