What journalism really is…

What journalism really is…

This quote, misattributed to George Orwell, gets at the “nut” of the civic role and responsibility of real journalism.


Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. everything else is public relations.

~ George Orwell (misattributed)

The quote has taken on many forms, but appears to originate with Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865 – 1922):

News is what people do not want you to print. All the rest is advertising.

~ Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865 – 1922)

News magnate William Randolph Hearst is cited as saying something very similar:

News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising.
~ William Randolph Hearst

And still other variations exist, but one I particularly like is from Bill Moyers:

As one of my mentors said, “News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity.”

~ Bill Moyers

And one more from an Argentinian journalist:

“Journalism is to spread what someone does not want you to know; the rest is propaganda.”

Horacio Verbitsky, Argentinian journalist

Nothing is as it seems…Who said that?

Source: WikiQuotes for discussion of Orwellian quotes

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