News Values and the Ethic of Journalism — a View of the Western Tradition

  • Anthony Smith
Part of the Communications and Culture book series


The American musician of the Jazz Era, Fats Waller, was once asked by a woman admirer to explain what a sense of rhythm consisted in; ‘Lady’, he replied, ‘if you don’t know, you ain’t got it.’ If you ask the average British or American journalist what his sense of news consists in you are likely to get a similar answer: for the journalist his sense of what makes news today is the result of long conditioning and subtle training in the knowledge of his audience and medium. He is likely to rub his thumb against his first and second fingers holding his palm upwards and explain, as if having chosen the spices for some subtly flavoured sauce, that his instinct for arranging facts into news is partly professional folklore, partly the house-style of his own newsroom and mainly personal genius.


Social Responsibility Hard Fact Mass Press Mass Audience American Musician 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Edward J. Epstein, News from Nowhere: Television and the News (New York: Random House, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bernard C. Cohen, The Press and Foreign Policy (Princeton University Press, 1965 ).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jock Young, ‘The Role of the Police as the Amplifiers of Deviancy’, in Images of Deviance, ed., S. Cohen ( Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Rev. George Crabbe, ‘The Newspaper’ in Collected Works, vol. 11 ( London: John Murray, 1834 ).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    The life and letters of C. Moberly Bell by his daughter, E. H. C. Moberly Bell (London: Richards Press, 1927)p. 16o.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anthony Smith 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Smith

There are no affiliations available

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