What are the standards of journalism


Some contributions from German, Russian, American etc. media representatives, researchers on journalism, mass media, freedom of the press and journalism in general.

Harald Heuer
Deputy Head of the Ruhr School of Journalism
Project manager ZEUS - newspaper and school

News Journalism Standards

In the western democracies the message is formulated according to the standard of "objective reporting". Since messages are subjectively received and conveyed by individuals, one can only approach the goal of "objectivity", but never achieve it.

In order to achieve a high degree of journalistic credibility, the editors try to present the event as impartially and fact-oriented as possible. A targeted evaluation by the journalist has no place in the news. His opinion is asked in the comment.

Ultimately, news cannot depict the truth. However, journalists are expected to be as precise as possible, from the description of the course of events to the exact naming of names, dates and dates. The transparency of the messaging is also essential. That is, the reader must be able to find the pros and cons of an event or fact from the article.

If the journalist cannot report from his own perspective, he must name his sources in the text. Even if the source of information appears to be so serious, he is not released from the obligation to check the information for accuracy through counter-research or, if this is not possible, to name the source exactly. If he has doubts about the credibility of the information or the source of the information, he must either forego the data or state the facts in his article for the doubts.

First of all, messages are understood to be all messages that are of interest to the public, i.e. that differ from the 'normal' (according to Weischenberg, 1988). This definition raises the following questions, among others: Who is the public and what are their interests?

The "taz" has a different reader structure and different evaluation criteria than the "Welt" or the local editorial team of a regional daily newspaper.

Therefore only a few incomplete comments on this: Important for picking up news, their journalistic implementation and placement on the newspaper page are:

  • the overall social significance (extent and consequence of the event) and / or
  • the (presumed) reading interest
Clues for the reader's interest include:
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