that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is
indefensible." - Walter Williams
From The Source
The first dean of the University of Missouri
School of Journalism was Walter Williams. In approximately 1905, he wrote "The
Journalist's Creed". Williams was a man of his time, although in some ways perhaps a
bit ahead of it, as the language of the Creed demonstrates (remember, for example, women a
century ago not only were not as prominent a part of journalism as now, but were, in fact,
It is reprinted here to show what the ideal is in
journalism and for the edification of those journalists who have never read nor even heard
of it or Walter Williams. With only a few minor modifications, "The Journalist's
Creed" is a worthy standard by which to judge every profession, every person. "I
believe in the profession of journalism.
"I believe that the public journal is a
public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility,
trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is
betrayal of this trust.
"I believe that clear thinking and clear
statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
"I believe that a journalist should write
only what he holds in his heart to be true.
"I believe that suppression of the news, for
any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
"I believe that no one should write as a
journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one's own pocketbook is
as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual
responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another's instructions or another's
"I believe that advertising, news and
editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard
of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good
journalism is the measure of its public service.
"I believe that the journalism which
succeeds best -- and best deserves success -- fears God and honors Man; is stoutly
independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but
never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always
unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the
clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and
recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic
while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a
journalism of humanity, of and for today's world."