While I can certainly appreciate the idea behind the cover of the September/October 2013 CJR, I do not appreciate the f-word being used so blatantly and prominently.
I am not on a crusade to clean up America’s pottymouth. I realize millions of Americans use this word every day. I have friends who can use it as a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb. I understand the concept of free speech; and, as a lifelong journalist, freedom of the press is something I advocate and cherish.
I’m sure there are instances where I would agree the use of the word is warranted. The cover of a magazine describing journalism isn’t one of them.
Donnita Nesbit Fisher
Managing Editor, Van Zandt Newspapers
Could we keep the profanity off the cover?
While most readers of the Review would never admit to being offended by the crude language, some of us leave the magazine lying around the house or on our office desk where it is subject to being read by those not sophisticated enough to recognize the high quality journalism being displayed by its use. Seriously, would you consider this appropriate on the front page of a newspaper? If not, why would you think it is okay on the cover of your magazine?
Buena Vista, VA
I spent 30 years in broadcast news; for the past 18 years I have been teaching media relations to agencies of public safety and municipal government around the country. I am a lifelong Journalist with a capital “J” and I am very proud of that. Today when I received the September/October issue of CJR I was appalled and ashamed.
How dare CJR include the F-bomb on its cover! The F-bomb has no place anywhere in CJR! Putting it on the magazine cover was outrageously offensive! Whatever else Journalism may or may not be, it must lead, not pander or follow. As we in the United States continue to witness the slow but steady degradation of social norms, Journalism—with a capital “J”—must stand as one of the last bastions of civilized discourse, “to speak out for what is right, fair, and decent” as CJR proudly—rightly!—highlights “from the founding editorial, 1961.”
When Newsweek magazine began dropping the F-bomb casually into its reporting, I cancelled my subscription. With sadness, and with deep regret, I also do so now with CJR. CJR’s insensitive, stupid attempt at—humor? sensationalism? “edginess?”—was sick, lame, and wrong. You have lost all credibility with me. Please cancel my subscription immediately and send me a check for the unused balance. Alternatively, feel free to “keep the change” and apply that money toward trying to recover CJR’s integrity and sense of propriety and direction going forward.
President, RAR Communications, Inc.
You stay home. I’ll go.
I think the word Jay is searching for but for some reason is reluctant to use is that journalism is about public things rather than private things (“The ‘awayness’ problem,” CJR, September/October). Also, for those of us who study journalism, I think it muddies the waters to think of journalism as an act rather than an occupational group. Journalism is a culture; it has its own folkways, its own sense of the world. A blogger may produce news but isn’t part of this culture. So I think it is better to say that news production is an act, and journalism is only one group of folks who produce the news. Saying it this way retains an important distinction, in my mind.
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An old friend of mine, Kristie Linden, a journalist at the Jeannette Spirit newspaper in Pennsylvania, once expressed this concept of “awayness” to me beautifully. Discussing how she views her role as a journalist in Jeannette, she said, “You’ve worked all day; it’s raining. You stay home. I’ll go.”
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Journalist, a.k.a. park ranger
While I respect many of the respondents’ opinions on “What is journalism for” (CJR, September/October), it rings a bit too idealistic. If the summation of these entries was true, journalists would be like mail carriers and park rangers—publicly funded for the common good.
What journalism is for is to make money. Through history (and especially now), the industry’s decisions are made with the best interest of finances in mind. Top-level decisions that align with the greater journalistic good are more likely happy coincidences than public missions.
I don’t want this to be cynical, just representative. I believe in the passion and power of journalists. But I also believe that to gauge the utility of journalism without addressing financial incentives is naive at best, and destructive at worst.
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