A journalist’s first duty

Fresh from a day’s training in London – sharpening skills and relearning the dark arts of pitching to editors – I once again find myself shocked by how unworldly some wannabe journalists can be.

I wondered how they would do on a ‘death knock’.

But then, when I first started out, I can remember being shocked by how a story looked on page; that real people were about to have their lives revealed to the World.

I can still remember, when I discovered Islamic extremists at a local university way back in the 1990s, that I felt sorry for them when writing my story. I wouldn’t feel sorry for them now.

Kindness is a much underrated virtue, and yes we should be humane, but a journalist’s first duty is to the truth, particularly when dealing with the powerful. 

We often forget, the daily and routine injustices perpetrated on the weak in our society – so let’s not be too shy of putting politicians, business leaders, bankers and even media moguls in the spotlight.

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