Journalism Quotes

Quotes About Journalism, Journalists, Reporters, Writers, Editors

It's the job of journalists to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

The American mass media have achieved what American political might could not:  World domination.  ~Akbar S. Ahmed

Freedom of the press in Britain is freedom to print such of the proprietor's prejudices as the advertiser's won't object to.  ~Helen Swaffer

Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.~ A. J. Liebling

Journalists are like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Journalism could be described as turning one's enemies into money. ~ Craig Brown

The media know exactly what they’re doing, focusing our attention on Arsenio’s hairdo. We need to keep our brains brimming with rubbish. If we didn’t, we might think about things. ~ Cynthia Heimel (If you can't live without me)

Thanks to my solid academic training, today I can write hundreds of words on virtually any topic without possessing a shred of information which is how I got a good job in journalism. ~ Dave Barry

If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast.  ~William Tecumseh Sherman

You should never pick up a newspaper when you're feeling good, because every newspaper has a special department, called the Bummer Desk, which is responsible for digging up depressing front-page stories. Dave Barry

I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.--Gandhi

You've only got to be in public life for about a week before you start to question if the newspapers are even giving you today's date with any accuracy! ~ Jonathan Lynn & Anthony Jay

Journalism - a profession whose business it is to explain to others what it personally does not understand.  ~Lord Northcliffe

In the hierarchy of predatory animals, Journalists are the carrion eaters.--Jacques Welter
in November, 1984 on the occasion of his changing professions from Journalism to the computer industry.

If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.  ~Malcolm X

Journalism is organized gossip.  ~Edward Egglestone

Television has a real problem.  They have no page two.  Consequently every big story gets the same play and comes across to the viewer as a really big, scary one.  ~Art Buchwald, 1969

I do not mean to be the slightest bit critical of TV newspeople, who do a superb job, considering that they operate under severe time constraints and have the intellectual depth of hamsters.  But TV news can only present the "bare bones" of a story; it takes a newspaper, with its capability to present vast amounts of information, to render the story truly boring.  ~Dave Barry

Anyone who edits their own copy has a fool for an editor.--Donald Davis, Bureau Manager, UPI Boston (BH), March 1975 (spoken to Paul Schindler)

Fiction is a bridge to the truth that journalism can't reach.--Gonzo Journalist Hunter Thompson
USA Today, March 26, 1998

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.
A. J. Liebling

The idea that media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that's about tenth or eleventh on their list. Abbie Hoffman

Journalism - an ability to meet the challenge of filling the space. Rebecca West

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be read once.
Cyril Connolly

USA Today has come out with a new survey - apparently, three out of every four people make up 75% of the population. David Letterman

Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed. Elbert Hubbard

It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. Jerry Seinfeld

Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. Thomas Jefferson

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
Thomas Jefferson

I read the newspaper avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction. Aneurin Bevan

The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they follow. Bigness means weakness.
Eric Sevareid

The press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master. James Fenimore Cooper

Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporter's gallery yonder, there sat a fourth estate more important far than they all. Thomas Carlyle

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read:  "President Can't Swim."  ~Lyndon B. Johnson

They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers.  ~James G. Watt, quoted in Newsweek, 8 March 1982

I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust.  ~Charles Baudelaire

No news is good news.  No journalists is even better.  ~Nicolas Bentley

You can crush a man with journalism.  ~William Randolph Hearst

You don't realize how little accuracy there is in network TV reporting until they cover a story in your hometown.  ~Robert Brault

Every newspaper editor owes tribute to the devil.  ~Jean de la Fontaine

These days there's all too much coverage of pesudo-events about extraordinarily inauthentic people doing inauthentic things.--David Halberstam, Vanity Fair, March 1998

Every good journalist is aware that his trade may one day go the way of phrenology--and, what's more, the population will hardly protest the extinction.--David Remnick, The New Yorker, Jan. 29, 1996

People tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember. Writers are always selling somebody out.-Joan Didion, National Public Radio, 1977...

It takes great self-confidence to write a newspaper column. Some might say it takes arrogance. Be that as it may, my willingness to pronounce on a great many matters of which I have little or no knowledge is one of my prime qualifications for this trade.--Russell Baker, The New York Times, August 6, 1996

Yelling about the media is like bellowing at the umpire. Maybe it can't change the calls reporters and editors made about yesterday's story, but it might make a difference in tomorrow's.--Eleanor Randolph
LA Times, July 22, 1996

Cybermedia will make every man his own editor, which in turn makes every writer a fool. The Internet will transmit misinformation very efficiently. We will miss the gatekeepers.--Neal B. Freeman
National Review, Dec. 11, 1995

The media only report stupid or careless answers, not stupid or unfair questions.--Colin Powell
My American Journey, Random House, 1995

It sometimes takes a while for executives to figure out that the reporters they think of as little bugs to be squashed or spun can be more powerful than they are.---Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, August 14, 1995

The four pillars of wisdom that support journalistic endeavors are: lies, stupidity, money-grubbing, and ethical irresponsibility.--Marlon Brando, June 19, 1995, to reporters questioning him about the dissent of the set of Divine Rapture, Production stopped on July 24, 1995

If God himself reached down into the muck and mire, he could not raise a journalist up to the depths of degradation!--The old country doctor in Nothing Sacred, a 1937 journalism film written by Ben Hecht

The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs.--Hunter S. Thompson

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.--Oscar Wilde

All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. we can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level. -William Bernbach, of DDB Needham Worldwide, 1989.

Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.''--Voltaire, letter to M. le Riche, 6 February 1770, cited in A Book of French Quotations (1963), Norbert Guterman (variations of this quotation appear on many newspaper editorial pages)

Money is the great power today. Men sell their souls for it. Women sell their bodies for it. Others worship it. The money power has grown so great that the issue of all issues is whether the corporation shall rule this country or the country shall again rule the corporations. -Joseph Pulitzer, December 1878, St. Louis Dispatch

Preserve your independence of all demagogues and place-hunters and never submit to their dictation; write boldly and tell the truth fearlessly; criticize whatever is wrong, and denounced whatever is rotten in the administration of your local and state affairs, no matter how much it may offend the guilty or wound the would-be leaders of your party...Make an earnest and conscientious journal; establish its reputation for truth and reliability, frankness and independence. Never willfully deceive the people, or trifle with their confidence. Show that your journal is devoted to the advocacy and promotion of their temporal interests and moral welfare.--Joseph Medill, May 1869, Chicago Tribune, from a speech give in Indianapolis to editors and publishers

The fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw of character. ~ Lydon Johnson

The philosophical basis on which a newspaper rests is extremely important. Why is it published? Only to turn a profit? Or does it have another purpose? The answer is yes, our newspapers have philosophical roots. What has been this unique character? For one, a caring about the way things are for the ordinary person, caring about the way the world is, the way the state is, the way the city is...The first Bee was founded by men who had a cause, who fervently believed in a just society. It cared about the things that would make this new community a just society - affordable bank interest rates, land for settlers, an honest court system, cheap electricity when it arrived and clean water, trees and parks, good schools and fair treatment for the ordinary man.--James Briggs McClatchy
Sacramento Bee, address to editors and publishers in 1993

  • Publish and be damned
  • Print the news and raise hell

--Traditional newspaper credos

And I say to you, whether you do environmental reporting or some other kind of journalism, and whether you practice journalism here in the U.S. or in some other place, please keep doing it and doing it well. Despite everything, journalism remains a noble calling.-- Jim Risser, director emeritus of the Knight Fellowships.

Too strong a media emphasis on death and violence can lead to despair.--Dali Lama

Dealing with the media is more difficult that bathing a leper--Mother Teresa

For years now, Martin [Amis] has had a contentious relationship with British journalists, whom he likens to mullahs. "They whip up hysteria," he explained. "Journalists are more powerful now than they've ever been, and we all know what power does. Anyone who disses the media is really asking for it. But it is the case that the journalists are what they are - world famous for vulgarity, alcoholism, spite."
-Charles McGrath, Sunday New York Times Magazine, April 22, 2007

I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying-it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off.
-Molly Ivins

Every journalist who is not too stupid or full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.--Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer, 1990

Nobody beats a bunch of journalists for inflating their rather mundane straightforward chores with a lot more melodrama and self-importance than the job should be asked to contain.--Larry King, an American journalist in London, August, 2005

... Don [Hewitt, 60 Minutes exec producer] told me, "You have set broadcast journalism back 20 years." Naturally, I was both proud and elated although too modest to say so, but broadcast journalism recovered with alacrity, my contract wasn't renewed, and the incident was forgotten.--Nicholas Von Hoffman, Wall Street Journal, p. D10, March 12, 2003

On behalf of the newspaper industry (new, cost-cutting motto: ``All the News That'') I wish to announce some changes we're making to serve you better. When I say ``serve you better,'' I mean ``increase our profits.'' We newspapers are very big on profits these days. We're a business, just like any other business, except that we employ English majors.--Dave Barry, Miami Herald, May 20, 2001

We must express the view, based on our empirical observations, that a substantial number of journalists are ignorant, lazy, opinionated, and intellectually dishonest. The profession is heavily cluttered with aged hacks toiling through a miasma of mounting decrepitude and often alcoholism, and even more so with arrogant and abrasive youngsters who substitute 'commitment' for insight. The product of their impassioned intervention in public affairs is more often confusion than lucidity.
--Conrad Black, F. David Radler, and Peter G. White, "A Brief to the Special Senate Committee on the Mass Media from the Sherbrooke Record, the voice of the Eastern Townships," November 7, 1969, p.10. Quote Excerpted in Talk Magazine, Nov. 2000.

A newspaper is not the place to go to see people actually earning a living, though journalists like to pretend they never stop sweating over a hot typewriter. It is much more like a brothel - short, rushed bouts of really enjoyable activity interspersed with long lazy stretches of gossip, boasting, flirtation, drinking, telephoning, strolling about the corridors sitting on the corner of desks, planning to start everything tomorrow. Each of the inmates has a little specialty to please the customers. The highest paid ones perform only by appointment; the poorest take on anybody, The editors are like madams - soothing, flattering, disciplining their naughty, temperamental staff, but rarely obliged to satisfy the clients personally between the printed sheets.--from a UPI Washington Bureau Manager

THE DAILY FISH wrap. A 19th century Irish immigrant named O'Reilly called the newspaper ``a biography of something greater than a man. It is the biography of a DAY. It is a photograph, of twenty four hours' length, of the mysterious river of time that is sweeping past us forever. And yet we take our year's newspapers -- which contain more tales of sorrow and suffering, and joy and success, and ambition and defeat, and villainy and virtue, than the greatest book ever written -- and we use them to light the fire.'' --Adair Lara, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 1999

Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I.-- Russell Baker Lears Magazine

... It was the idea of facing a future skimming the surface of life, winging my way in and out of other people's crises, confusions, and passages, engaging them enough to get the story, but never enough to be indelibly touched by what I had seen or heard.--Anna Quindlen, New York Times Columnist, in One True Thing, her novel about a magazine journalist

The First Law of Journalism: to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it.--Alexander Cockburn

Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.--Norman Mailer

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