Journalists should be ‘entrepreneurial’ – but don’t sell your souls

…we have to remember that hundreds of journalists around the world have given their lives to tell their readers, viewers and listeners the truth. More than 100 journalists around the world are currently in prison because they refused to bow to the most severe government pressure.

If you are going to call yourself a journalist, be entrepreneurial by all means. But don’t sell your soul for short-term, self-defeating commercial gain.

Those who find themselves ever wavering should perhaps read again the posthumously published editorial of  Sri Lankan newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunga (who was murdered in 2008) ‘And then they came for me’:

“No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the past few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print-media institutions have been burnt, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories and now especially the last.”

My only quibble with this was that it seemed to single out news start-ups. Mainstream news organizations have been blurring the line for years and they continue to do so today.

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