Looks like a journalist, smells like a journalist…

Looks like a journalist, smells like a journalist…

: Tom Rosenstiel in today’s Boston Globe asks and answers the question, what is a journalist?

A journalist tries to tell the literal truth and get the facts right, does not pass along rumors, engages in verifying, and makes that verification process as transparent as possible.

A journalist’s goal is to inspire public discussion, not to help one side win or lose. One who tries to do the latter is an activist.

Neutrality is not a core principle of journalism. But the commitment to facts, to public consideration, and to independence from faction, is.

A journalist’s loyalty to his or her audience, even above employer, is paramount.

This new medium shifts that a bit. Today, a journalist is part of his audience — so call it his public, instead — and anybody who reports a fact or pushes a question to get to the facts is engaging in journalism. I’m also not sure what the “literal truth” is and I will say that plenty of journalists today make a living passing on rumors (aka terror alerts). I’d say a journalist is one who communicates news and information. What do you say?