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Harrison Salisbury, journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, speaking at the Midwest Working Journalists Forum on the University of Minnesota campus. Salisbury, a Minnesota native, discussed the role of the news media and where it is heading.

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Thank you very much. I'm almost about to be in Minneapolis because this is where I begin and I like to come back to the university because this is where I went to school and I predict you like to meet a bunch of working journalist in the Twin Cities because that's this is where I begin. My careers are working journalists and our newspaper man is I prefer to say and that's what I regard myself as today. And I'm always delighted to hear again about my difficulties with the University. I did get kicked out as editor of the daily and got kicked out of the school. but I had a chance to return and that delighted me to when I came back from Moscow about 20 years ago after being correspondence are for the times and having won the Pulitzer Prize. On the University sound how to change this attitude little bit and up. They invited me out to to receive the distinguished service award. And I was delighted to receive it at course. I was also delighted to be able to receive it on the precise anniversary 25 years after I've been kicked out of school that made it to just happen to be that same day and that made it a little bit better. And also interested me the fact that while I've been kicked out for smoking a cigarette in the Library times have changed their to you were permitted to smoke in the library by the time I came back to the canvas and I myself have given up smoking so I didn't give a damn well today. I would talk about the state-of-the-art, whatever that may mean state-of-the-art of Journalism. And I think that it is if we can call it that it's arrived at a very high point. Highest that it has achieved certainly in in my years in the field. I don't think very many people in this room would have guessed say 10 years ago. That deleting. Motion Picture stars of the day would be spending this month. In the city room. Where the Washington Post. Where is Bernstein and Woodward learning how to act like newspaper reporters so that they can portray the roles of those two great young man on the Washington Post in a picture, which is found to be one of the great pictures of the year. I think if one merely takes a moment to think of the contrast between Bernstein and Woodward did and I use them really as symbols of reporting in our time to young men. Whose efforts I'm not alone certainly played a major role. If not being a juror role in the uncovering of the biggest domestic. Newspaper story not only of our times but probably of all time so far as American politics are concerned. You contrast that image of these two young man working as they did day after day night after night. Meeting as they contend and that deserted underground garage with deep throat in order to confirm their latest tips. Where is the image of the newspaper man? Or man as I grew up with it. In the early thirties damage of the front page which some of you may have seen in the recent film a redone film for the third or fourth time depicting journalism in Chicago as it existed in the late twenties. I think you will understand how far we as a profession have come in about 50 years. Not quite 50 years. We've come a long way. We come from the time. when Hilda Johnson the famous reporter in the front page with his great City editor of the Chicago examiner of those Gangland days in Chicago engaged in the kind of Journalism, which was basically based on phoniness On checks on sensation on anything for a headline. To the time when? young newspaper man and older this paper Man 2 come to their profession with a sense of profound dedication a sense of social and political purpose. A sense of idealism if you will. Had a great sense of professionalism. Of what is right to do and what is wrong to do? And if I think it is true. Does the ethics displayed in the front page are essentially the ethics of the picture stealer? and the headline phony The kind of men and the kind of a profession which had no thought for the consequences of what they were doing except to get what they called a good story and to sell newspapers on the street because in those days newspapers were sold on the street with great big Headlines by Newsboys. I think it was going to completely amoral. That one could say that I'm drawing that picture too strongly that search me they were good professional newspapers and professional newspaper man in that era who had standards and you had ethics and that is true to be certain but the image of our profession was certainly that of the front page as Charlie MacArthur and Ben Hecht pictured it in that marvelously amusing play of theirs. But now the image is different. And it is an image which contrast very sharply. with some of the political imagery of our time I think there's no. that the reason why the newspaperman in the newspapers of this country We're so successful. in their expose Ozzy unpleasant Underside How's the phone number Administration out of the kind of politics which was going on in Washington is because you had people who had a sense of dedication. Who hated hiphopcrisy? Who hated lies rated tricks? and understood What moral principles are? Some of you may have seen probably a good many of you saw Mike Wallace's interview. The other day on CBS with mr. Robert Haldeman Are you may have? What I thought was the key question in that really very revealing interview in which Mike asked Haldeman. about the question Ethics and morality and you may have noticed the answer which came back from Haldeman, which had nothing to do with principles it had merely to do with practices. It was quite apparent that so far as Haldeman was concerned Wallace was talking a language. He did not understand. And there are indeed I think lies the heart. What is really what has been a great National tragedy? But one which I think the newspapers in the newspaperman this country. have played an outstanding in a positive role. I don't mean to her on Watergate. I think it is extraordinary important not only in the history of our profession but in the history of our country. I see Watergate innocence is a combination of a process. Which has been going on and Gathering momentum for some time. Is since I suppose. We really did again. I just mean we we newspaper man, really it again covering our country. After World War II. Before that for a long. Of time our attention was fixed and very properly on the foreign field and American journalist. An American foreign correspondents did some of the most distinguished work. Show me the most perceptive work. It was done anywhere in the world in covering. The rise of Hitler the oncoming of World War II and indeed reporting the war itself and they continue to do this after the war and on through the Korean War. But it was after the Korean war that we began to turn our attention to our own country through a succession of circumstances. In which I think newspaper men devoted the same kind of talents that they had used so successfully and perceptively and covering international events. I slowly began die what was happening in their own country and probably the first great talent challenge, which we had was a rising civil rights movement in the south. which for many reporters Was like covering. a Civil War in a foreign land I don't know how many of you remember the drama of that story. following the Supreme Court decision 254 and a sudden emergence of the sit-in movement in the South and the rising civil rights crusade in the South with one dramatic event after another covered by most printing electronic journalism. and covered in death and cover it again with the same kind of perception which we had applied for so long to foreign events and one event after another came after that which test our resolve in our purpose and ability is newspaperman. Because the last 20 years have been years that have been packed with drama and development. in this country of ours It's no wonder that our attention has been so strongly fixed year. Because hardly at the Civil Rights Movement reached its pink then we began to have other movements the student movement movement. Environmental movement the consumer movement all these things challenging basic assumptions and presumptions in this country. And we as newspaperman. Can had to cover these extraordinary temps contentious developments? I think we've done them well. I think you said it was because of the training we had. Perhaps were battle-hardened in each other's struggles that we went forward in these other perhaps even more important test. Has there been other factors involved in it, too? We had to run our legal basis. True the great decisions of the Supreme Court arising out of the Montgomery case in the Birmingham case, which gave us establish more strongly and firmly are basis and our privileges as well as our responsibilities under the First Amendment. So we moved in then. To what I think was the first of the great series of tests of the crest of this country. the famous Pentagon Papers in which my paper broke the story and broke the ground but in which all of the important and Drake papers of the country followed through Because you certainly remember. New York Times was enjoying from printing. Pentagon Papers, Washington Post carried on and when they were enjoying The Boston Globe carried on in St. Louis Post Dispatch in the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune and the night newspapers and your name at every one of the newspapers with a dedication the truth and principal moved in on that front. And one by one they were enjoying another picked up the torch. So that even had we not one in the carts that Landmark battle. Could you respond through by The Washington Post and the New York Times? And gave us through the Supreme Court verdict. The reassertion of the principles which we knew were correct. But the government did not have the right. A prior injunction to prevent the printing of stories. Even if I did not happen. I'm absolutely certain. One newspaper in this country after another would have carried on until that story was presented to the public as indeed. It had to be I was at background that we come up to the great reporting of Watergate. Woodward and Bernstein and of course Woodward and Bernstein your only symbols perhaps the best and brightest symbols. How something that was engaged in by many many other reporters and many many other newspapers. And television change networks because everyone joined in there was a realization throughout the profession. That this was the kind of a story. On which the Press would make its mark? Of course, it doesn't all go one way. This very same. Was marked by one of the strongest. Propaganda and legal challenges to the Press which it is had to withstand in recent years. It was no accident that former Vice President Agnew. And I miss you, very close to here in Des Moines made his famous attack. On the Eastern establishment, press and more importantly because this was the real Target of the Nixon Administration on the Great. television networks in a sense. I think that was a very wholesome thing. Because there was enough true and some of those things which actor said. Or at least the possibility of enough juice to compel newspapers and television stations to re-examine themselves and to be living up to the principles, which they said they advocated. I know we did it in the times. I know the Washington Post did it. I know that CVS didn't NBC We reevaluated what we were doing and we were not all white. No one is we tried to improve the balance of what we were doing. I think we succeeded in doing it. Are many people who are fearful? This is song from The Press would cripple it. I think it strengthened it. But of course the egg new propaganda attack was only part of it. Alongside that went something which is still going on. The challenge to individual newspapers and individual reporters through a whole variety of legal devices most importantly. the demands on the part of Courts on the part of grand juries that newspaperman be compelled to testify either before the grand jury or in court. on confidential matters and this of course is a very serious challenges we all know. Since confidentiality is of the essence of our profession as it is all other great professions like that of the law and of medicine and some others. That's why you're still going on. And I should not want to underestimate it. Because while we may congratulate ourselves and I do congratulate us on what we have achieved and what we are continuing to achieve and what I think we're going to go forward with we should not for one moment ignore the fact that's like every institution in this country. We are under challenge. There is in this country I moved and has been for some time. Many of our basic institutions are failing to fulfill. the aims and objectives Which the great mass of American people expect of them? It is this kind of a move up inquiry and examination which is produced the different social political and which is an important ingredient of the whole investigation what's been going on in Washington? It is this kind of mood which is compelled great National corporations to examine their economic policies because of the criticism of the broad public it is this kind of feel which is compelled many people in Congress to re-examine the way they have been behaving. I think you just played in an enormous roll and sending it to the present Congress. Scores and scores of brand-new individuals who are perceived by the public as not being politicians politician being a dirty word. Unfortunately. I don't think it should be but it is and is same kind of mood is directed against the media and when a guy has spoken Nixon spoke and they attempted to make a target of the press. They knew what they were doing. They knew there were touching vital nerves out there. They know this many Americans were dissatisfied with the kind of job. We're doing felt we were not there. Not objective that we were not a voice for the little people for the ordinary man. For the fell on the assembly line. The alienated individual in the American society and that still exists anyone like myself will gets out around the country a great deal and all of you. I know you're active in the newspaper feel a certain to come up against this feeling you can't believe what you see on television. You can't believe what you read in the newspapers. It's always wrong and nobody is taking up for me. And we are in a sense on trial. And when we is a profession take great pride say in Watergate of the Pentagon papers. We must remember that there are many people who don't agree that those are great achievement who resent the Press. Who is that the press in many many ways? perhaps who most deeply resent the Press because it always seems to be the bearer of bad tidings it is very deep and human consciousness the identification of the bearer where the tidings he brings. And it was not only the Greeks who so often shocked the man or killed the man who brought the bad news. That goes on today in this country and any newspaper, man. Very early in his career. Encounters this kind of a feeling it's a natural human feeling and is strong in the country today. And I mentioned it because we have to justify ourselves by our works. And if we think we are doing good works. I think we are. If the spirit of our profession is proud today, and I think it is and if we are attracting to ourselves and I believe we are unprecedented numbers of young people who want to join in journalism, because I think that's where it's at. We should remember That we are only able to work effectively as well as we are able to convince the public that we are doing their work. We are professionals. Under the First Amendment of the Constitution which gives us those great privileges that great protection. There is also a deep responsibility that responsibility is to act as the eyes and ears and legs and arms of the public which is unable as we are to move across the country or across the world and find out what's going on. Unless the public feels that we're doing it in their interest their anger and resentment which has been invented on all of the other establishments in our society will be vented on us and we will not be able to carry through. What's a great task? Which lies ahead of us? I think we understand this and understand why there is a spinning in the public will be way ahead of the game. We should understand. That there are large elements in our society who are not represented by us. for the most part We are middle-class White Collar people for the most part. We've gone to the university are going to the university. Whatever our background was maybe we came out of the firm's maybe we came out of the ghetto, but we ourselves are headed for the suburbs and white collar job and Clean Hands. And a good deal of Social and Economic Security. And we should remember. if there is a great great mass of Americans who don't feel but we are of them and I think there's something going for their feeling. I think it behooves us if we're going to stay in business and we are going to stay in business never to cut our ties with the people had to keep going back again and again and finding out what they think of us. We don't have to agree with them. Hey biggie wrong. It's raining, but we should know what they think of us, and we should try in our reporting and our editing. To strengthen that connection because that would only strengthen us and strengthen the country as a whole. We're going to be right here all those emotion pictures. Let's not act like the motion picture Hero Let's be close to the people. And remember that we're only going to be as good as they form. It has to be. Thank you.


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