In 1894, Charles A. Dana, the editor of the New York Sun, who early in his career was a pioneering correspondent on Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, commented on the “comparatively new” profession of journalism. “The most essential part of this great mechanism,” said Dana, “is not the mechanism itself; it is the intelligence, the brains, and the sense of truth and honor that reside in the men who conduct it and make it a vehicle of usefulness or, it may be, of mischief.” This, at least, remains unchanged. 

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John Maxwell Hamilton is the dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University and the author of the forthcoming Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting.