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News The public's need for 'information sherpas'

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Reporters taking notes

News - reporting it, writing it, putting it in context - is becoming increasingly more complex. Understanding what a fact really is, understanding how opinion hides beneath information presented as facts, and understanding what it really means to be a guardian of the truth - these are the questions that challenge even the most seasoned of journalists.

Media ethicist Stephen J.A. Ward tackles the complexity of what he calls “journalism beyond facts.” It’s not enough to just report what someone in power claims is a fact, or truth. It’s incumbent upon all journalists to actively seek the truth.

Ward writes: "Journalism beyond facts will need a revolution in journalism education that goes beyond using new technology to knowledge of the world. We need a new generation of journalists who can mount a resistance to the 'mind warfare' of ideological fanatics. We need to educate journalists who can place isolated facts into meaningful context. We need journalists who are at home in the world of policy, culture, and global affairs - cosmopolitan journalists of broad mind."

Ward’s article is at

Story published on 11/5/2017 ; last modified on  
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"All we know are the facts, ma'am." Facts alone may have been enough for Sgt. Joe Friday when "Dragnet" was on TV in the 50s. Today, "just the facts" journalism would shortchange the public.

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  • The Journalism Program
  • 221 Memorial Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • 302-831-4921