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News, news, news ­ that is what we want. You can describe things with the pen of Shakespeare himself, but you cannot beat news in a newspaper.
Arthur Christiansen
Editor of the 'Daily Express' in the 1930s to the
1950s, and described by Hugh Cudlipp as
'the patron saint of urgency'.

What is news?
News is...

What lies between the ads.
Dale Boller

The first rough draft of history.
Ben Bradlee

The first draft of everything is shit.
Ernest Hemingway

What protrudes from the ordinary.
Walter Lippman

Anything that will make people talk.
Charles A. Dana
'New York Sun'

Anything that makes the reader say "Gee whiz!"
Arthur McEwen
'San Francisco Examiner'

Things that people don't want to be known.
Nicholas Tomlin
London 'Sunday Times'

What somebody somewhere wants to suppress.
All the rest is advertising.
Lord Northcliffe

When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news.
Charles Anderson Dana
Famous line uttered by the owner-editor
of the 'New York Sun' and often wrongly
attributed to John Bogland and to Alfred
Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe

News is what a chap who doesn't care much about anything wants to read. And it's only news until he's read it. After that, it's dead.
Evelyn Waugh

If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails of that country will be filled with good people.
Daniel Moynihan
US politician, professor

The modern editor of a newspaper does not care for facts. The editor wants novelty. The editor has no objection to facts, if they are also novel. But he would prefer a novelty that is not a fact to a fact that is not a novelty.
William Randolph Hearst

News agenda

This is the biggest newspaper story sincethe crucifixion of Jesur Christ.
Kennedy Jones
'Daily Mail' editor on the Dreyfuss Affair, defending
blanket coverage when his boss Lord Northcliffe objected.

If Thomas Edison invented electric light today, Dan Rather would report it on CBS News as "candle making industry threatened."
Newt Gingrich
US Congressman

Journalism largely consists of saying "Lord Jones Dead" to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.

The secret of a successful newspaper is to take one story each day and bang the hell out of it. Give the public what it wants to have and part of what it ought to have whether it wants it or not.
Herbert Bayard Swope
Editor, 'New York World'

I wouldn't be here if there were no trouble. Trouble is news, and gathering news is my job.
Marguerite Higgins

Good taste is, of course, an utterly dispensable part of any journalist's equipment.
Michael Hegg

Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilisation.
George Bernard Shaw

News and reality

Have you noticed that life, real honest-to-goodness life, with murders and catastophes and fabulous inheritances, happens almost exclusively in the newspapers?
Jean Anouilh
'The Rehearsal'

Journalism constructs momentarily arrested equilibriums and gives disorder an implied order. That is already two steps from reality.
Thomas Griffiths

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

The process of reporting

To hear people talk about the facts you would think that they lay about like pieces of gold ore in the Yukon waiting to be picked up, all stories are written backwards ­ they are supposed to begin with the facts and develop from there, but in reality they begin with a journalist's point of view, a conception, and it is the point of view from which the facts are subsequently organised.
Claud Cockburn

Journalists belong in the gutter because that is where the ruling classes
throw their guilty secrets.
Gerald Priestland

You'd get an idea and draw the facts towards it.
Desmond Hackett
Daily Express sports reporter explaining
in one pithy sentence the entire
philosophy of tabloid journalism.

News work is highly addictive. It is the cocaine of crafts.
William F Kerby
Executive editor, 'Wall Street Journal', in
'A Proud Profession: Memoirs of a Reporter,
Editor and Publisher'

Journalism is a profession whose business it is to explain to others what it personally does not understand.
Lord Northcliffe

Since news can be defined as something that someone does not want printed, the best stories are inevitably caught as a terrier catches a rabbit down a dark hole. The nature of the process means some important bits may get left behind.
Matthew Engel
'Tickle The Public: One Hundred
Years of the Popular Press'

Whenever you find hundreds and thousands of sane people trying to get out of a place and a little bunch of madmen trying to get in, you know the latter are reporters.
H.R. Knickerbocker

Writing for a newspaper is like running a revolutionary war. You go to battle not when you are ready, but when action offers itself.
Norman Mailler

I've been involved in demonstrations that were pretty languid affairs until the cameras and reporters showed up, at which time people abruptly began gesticulating wildly and spouting angry rhetoric. This significant and somewhat humorous fact was never reported in the news stories about the demonstrations.
John Allen Paulos
'A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper'

Somebody was using the pencil.
Dorothy Parker
On why she missed a
'New Yorker' deadline

When the call comes in the middle of the night, a fireman only has to put on his pants and extinguish the flames. A correspondent must tell a million people who struck the match and why.
Mort Rosenblum
of Associated Press

All day long, Hollywood reporters lie in the sun, and when the sun goes down, they lie some more.
Frank Sinatra

Never believe in mirrors or newspapers.
John Osborne
"The Hotel In Amsterdam'

America is a country of inventors, and the greatest of inventors are the newspaper men.
Alexander Graham Bell

Many a good newspaper story has been ruined by oververification.
James Gordon Bennett

Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.
Norman Mailer

Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that
rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge.
Erwin Knoll

A quote is a personal possession and you have no right to change it.
Ray Cave

The greatest service rendered by the Press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust.
Samuel Butler


Show me a man who claims he is objective and I'll show you a man with illusions.
Henry R Luce
Proprieter of 'Time'

My business is to communicate facts. My instructions do not allow me to make any comment upon the facts which I communicate. My dispatches are sent to papers of all manner of poltics.
Lawrence A Godbright
AP's first Washington correspondent explaining,
in thre sentences, the origins of the wires' need
to be as free of bias as they could be.

There is no question but that McCarthy's exploitation of 'straight' reporting did cause a gradual fundamental change in American journalism. It probably took a performance as spectacular as his to move the guardians of objectivity to admit that the meaning of an event is as important as the facts of an event.
Edwin R Bayley
"Joe McCarthy and The Press"

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