Power of press shouldn't be abused
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 11:16 am
By JIM ZACHARY
The power of the press should never be underestimated and must never be abused.
This week marks the 75th anniversary of National Newspaper Week and the theme -- The Power of the Press -- points to the importance of watchdog journalism, accurate reporting, strong editorials, comprehensive public notices and a free, open public forum.
"Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all."
Democracy is best served when the newspaper provides checks and balances as the Fourth Estate of government. Newspapers are not the enemy of government -- rather we are the champions of ordinary men and women.
Newspapers are not bullies out to pick a fight. Rather, they hold public officials accountable, advocate for openness in government and champion the cause of the public because they are committed to the neighborhoods, cities, counties, states and coverage areas they serve.
With intelligent, thoughtful, compelling commentary, coupled with clearly written, straightforward news reporting, newspapers wield the power of the press in ways that make communities better by giving a voice to the voiceless and empowering the powerless.
Newspapers hold government accountable because at our very core we believe that government belongs to the governed and not to the governing.
Newspapers, the good ones, use their power to make a difference in the communities they serve, by accurate reporting, comprehensive coverage and strong commentary.
Jim Zachary is a newspaper veteran who has championed government transparency. He is the editor of the Valdosta (Ga.) Daily Times, director of The Transparency Project of Georgia, founder of the Tennessee Transparency Project.