Integrity the most important thing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

Last year about this same time I wrote in this space about &uot;The Journalist’s Creed.&uot;

To me, it does not matter whether I’m writing for the Washington Post, Time magazine or here at the Greenville Advocate.

What I write, I have to live with and be willing to stand by in word and deed.

Email newsletter signup

I’ll be the first to admit that on rare occasions I could take back a news cycle and start again.

But that is not an option.

For a week now I’ve been bothered by a phone message regarding a column I wrote about &uot;Turkey&uot; Phelps. Needless to say the person was less than appreciative of my column and just as my column is my opinion, that caller is entitled to his opinion.

That messenger did not leave a name as is often the case when someone disagrees with me.

The important thing to note is that the caller knew who to call because we make sure that you have that option.

It is something you don’t see in other area newspapers.

It is called a byline.

That is one thing I’m very proud about here at the Advocate.

There is never any doubt who wrote an article on the front, sports, lifestyles or editorial pages.

Yes, that called riled me and for about a day I was so angry I couldn’t concentrate.

But hey, life goes on.

And by the end of the day, I still went to sleep because I realized the caliber of the person who left it.

But I did want to take this opportunity again to tell you about the creed that I adhere to and I know the other people who write for this newspaper adhere to.

Simply stated:

&uot;I believe in the profession of journalism.

&uot;I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

&uot;I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

&uot;I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

&uot;I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

&uot;I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

&uot;I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

&uot;I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.&uot;

I could write much more on this, but I’ll let my &uot;Creed&uot; speak for me.

As always, thank you for reading my column and thank you for reading the Greenville Advocate.

We are here to chronicle the history of Butler County each edition in our pages and always welcome your criticism and your praise.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at