Due Diligence and the News: Searching for a Moral Compass in the Digital Age
Reporter, editor and lecturer Stanley Flink knows the news business. He has worked as a journalist and editor for many years, in many different venues and platforms.
Flink knows, as we all should, that democracy has no life without truth. In Due Diligence and the News, Stan reviews, succinctly and gracefully, the relationship between the press and American civic life from colonial days to the digital age. He shows that while opinions may differ, facts are not optional. How it can be possible to assure publication based on verifiable facts without curtailing differing opinions is the issue addressed throughout this collection of linked essays.
Can internal verification earn the trust of the reading/listening public?
Can a voluntary body of experts, like the Hutchins Commission, make workable rules?
Can government--international, national, state or local--serve as a watchdog without violating the Constitution?
Can the press, in the absence of malice, do less than full due diligence in commenting on a public official?
These questions are addressed thoughtfully throughout this well written book, but no one, not even Stan, can answer them conclusively and for all situations. Ultimately, as Stan takes a look forward into the digital age, the age of learned intelligence and poses unanswerable questions about the future of the press.
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About the AuthorSTANLEY FLINK grew up in a New Jersey. He entered Yale University a few months after Pearl Harbor and enlisted in the Army. After service in the Pacific, he returned to Yale to continue his education. He graduated in 1948 and became a correspondent for Time, Inc. in New York and then in California, where he reported on such people as William Randolph Hearst, Richard Nixon, and the first appearances of Marilyn Monroe. In 1958 he transferred to television news at NBC and later CBS. In 1962 he took up a series of assignments in London where he lived for eight years. He had married in 1949 and had two children, now grown. His daughter Wendy is an educator and headmistress; his son Steven is an editor and writer. In 1972 he returned to Yale to become the founding director of the Office of Public Information. From 1980 to 2010 he taught an undergraduate seminar called "Ethics and the Media." In 1994 he was awarded the Yale Medal. He is the author of many articles and profiles, and among his books are a novel called But Will They Get It In Des Moines? about television, published by Simon & Schuster; and Sentinel Under Siege, an historical analysis of freedom of the press in America, published by Harper Collins. Mr. Flink and his second wife (of 45 years) Joy live in a retirement community in North Branford, CT, where he still lectures on the media. Through it all, he has never lost his deep affection for Golden Retrievers. He celebrated his 95th birthday in May of 2019.
Professor Bruce Fraser is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A. in psychology) and Boston University (Ph.D. in philosophy). He has taught at Indian River State College since 2001 and founded the Center for Media and Journalism Studies through the Gladys Williams Wolf Endowed Teaching Chair in Communications (2010).
Due Diligence and the News should be read and absorbed by every journalism student and news addict in the country. And by the White House.
William E. Burrows, Professor EmeritusArthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, NYU