Kobby Stonne at the National Press Club in Washington DC

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During a recent visit to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., I compared the Missouri School of Journalism’s prestigious Journalist’s Creed to gain insights into the fundamental ethics and conduct expected of journalists.

This exploration highlights the creed’s enduring significance for public trust and journalistic integrity.

At the National Press Club, journalists and enthusiasts gathered to delve deeper into the essence of journalistic ethics, a principle that has guided the profession through periods of turmoil and innovation.

The discussion centered on the Journalist’s Creed, penned by Walter Williams, the first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism.

The creed emphasizes the critical importance of public trust in journalism and serves as a guiding light for journalists worldwide.

The phrase “The public journal is a public trust” speaks to the duty journalists have to their readers.

Throughout our conversations, the creed’s emphasis on fairness, honest reporting, and clear thinking as cornerstones of journalism resonated, underscoring the profession’s commitment to truth and the well-being of society.

Additionally, the creed’s stance against news being suppressed for any reasons other than promoting societal good was a major topic of discussion.

It underscores the importance of journalism in creating an informed public free from outside influence or self-interest.

The creed also draws a line between journalism and advertising, upholding a single, universal standard of integrity and truth across all media.

When practiced according to its principles, journalism upholds values of respecting people, obeying God, and remaining independent despite authority or popular opinion.

These values not only establish journalism’s moral framework but also ensure its viability and worthiness of the public’s confidence and respect.

The lessons I learned from my visit to the National Press Club reaffirmed the ongoing significance of the Journalist’s Creed.

Almost a century after Williams first expressed it, his vision for journalism still motivates and challenges modern journalists to maintain the highest standards of their field in order to keep journalism as a cornerstone of democracy and defender of public trust.

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