quotations about journalism
Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault.
HENRY ANATOLE GRUNWALD, Time Magazine's 60th anniversary issue, Fall 1983
Journalism is merely history's first draft.
GEOFFREY C. WARD, attributed, Get Published Today! No More Rejections
Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once.
CYRIL CONNOLLY, Enemies of Promise
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
BEN HECHT, quoted in Jewish Wit and Wisdom
Journalism is literature in a hurry.
MATTHEW ARNOLD, attributed, The Mammoth Book of Zingers
To write weekly, to write daily, to write shortly, to write for busy people catching trains in the morning or for tired people coming home in the evening, is a heartbreaking task for men who know good writing from bad. They do it, but instinctively draw out of harm's way anything precious that might be damaged by contact with the public, or anything sharp that might irritate its skin.
VIRGINIA WOOLF, The Common Reader
The press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.
JAMES FENIMORE COOPER, The American Democrat
If you consider the great journalists in history, you don't see too many objective journalists on that list.
HUNTER S. THOMPSON, The Atlantic Monthly, Sep. 17, 1997
Great is journalism. Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being the persuader of it?
THOMAS CARLYLE, French Revolution
The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.
OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
Journalism is the only thinkable alternative to working.
JEFFREY BERNARD, attributed, The Mammoth Book of Zingers
Only a newspaper! Quick read, quick lost, Who sums the treasure that it carries hence? Torn, trampled under feet, who counts thy cost, Star-eyed intelligence?
MARY CLEMMER AMES, The Journalist
How shall I speak thee, or thy power address Thou God of our idolatry, the Press.... Like Eden's dead probationary tree, Knowledge of good and evil is from thee.
WILLIAM COWPER, Progress of Error
The only qualities essential for real success in journalism are rat-like cunning, a plausible manner, and a little literary ability.
NICHOLAS TOMALIN, The Sunday Times Magazine, Oct. 26, 1969
Journalism without a moral position is impossible. Every journalist is a moralist. It’s absolutely unavoidable. A journalist is someone who looks at the world and the way it works, someone who takes a close look at things every day and reports what she sees, someone who represents the world, the event, for others. She cannot do her work without judging what she sees.
MARGUERITE DURAS, foreward, Outside: Selected Writings
There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
OSCAR WILDE, The Critic as Artist
Journalism is to politician as dog is to lamp-post.
H.L. MENCKEN, quoted in The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations
Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another.
G.K. CHESTERTON, All Things Considered
The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.
OSCAR WILDE, "The Critic as Artist"
Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse.
JANET MALCOLM, The Journalist and the Murderer