I graduated debt-free from journalism school in 1968 at a time when there were plenty of jobs and some great opportunities in the news business. I was lucky enough to work at some prestigious news organizations, including United Press International, Post-Newsweek, Gannett and the Miami Herald. In every one of those news jobs, accuracy in reporting was priority number one. At UPI, it was very simple. Make a major error in a story that's released nationally and you were fired. There were no ifs, ands or buts. Rules like that kept you on your toes.
One of Bud Benjamin's dreams was to expand the CBS Evening News to a full hour. And Bud wasn't thinking of filling it with helicopter shots, celebrity gossip and punditry. He imagined an entire hour brimming with investigative reporting, exposés and dispatches from around the world. It was a different time in journalism. A time when professional duty was patriotic, and the freedom of the press motivated and inspired newsrooms. I know it is hard to believe - but it's true - newsrooms were not supposed to turn a profit. Frankly, news was considered an acceptable loss on the balance sheet.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists applauds ABC’s decision to effectively ban checkbook journalism and the backdoor practice of paying "licensing fees" for newsmaker interviews and encourages all news outlets to do the same.