Neatorama posted the 11 most important philosophical questions today. While I read through them, I thought of how each could be applied to journalism.
- â€œThe unexamined life is not worth livingâ€ â€“ Socrates (470-399 BCE)
- â€œEntities should not be multiplied unnecessarilyâ€ â€“ William of Ockham (1285 – 1349?)
- â€œThe life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.â€ â€“ Thomas Hobbes (1588 â€“ 1679)
- â€œI think therefore I amâ€ â€“ RenÃ© Descartes (1596 â€“ 1650)
- â€œTo be is to be perceived (Esse est percipi).â€ â€“ Bishop George Berkeley (1685 â€“ 1753)
- â€œWe live in the best of all possible worlds.â€ â€“ Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646 â€“ 1716)
- â€œThe owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.â€ G.W.F. Hegel (1770 â€“ 1831)
- â€œWho is also aware of the tremendous risk involved in faith â€“ when he nevertheless makes the leap of faith â€“ this [is] subjectivity â€¦ at its height.â€ â€“ SÃ¸ren Kierkegaard (1813 â€“ 1855)
- â€œGod is dead.â€ â€“ Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 â€“ 1900)
- â€œThere is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.â€ â€“ Albert Camus (1913 â€“ 1960)
- â€œOne cannot step twice in the same river.â€ â€“ Heraclitus (ca. 540 â€“ ca. 480 BCE)
The unexamined isn’t news. But, almost anything, once examined, is news. Everyone has a story, and it is a reporter’s job to find out what that is and what’s interesting about it.
Applies more to Web design, but since newspapers are learning how to do that: Remove all unnecessary design elements. Simple is better.
Sure. But relate it back to the first one. Even if everyone’s life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” there’s always something unique and interesting that warrants inclusion in a story.
The quote originally describes man in his or her natural “uncivilized” state. The dissemination of news is part of what we like to call a civilized society. Thus, news prevents the life of man from being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
I am, therefore I write. I think, therefore I have something to write about.
To be written about is to be perceived.
Maybe, but bad news sells papers. And there always seems to be plenty of that.
You never know what the real story is until you sit down to write it.
Decisions, in writing, reporting and editing, are not always crystal clear. Sometimes you just have to take the risk.
Print is dead? Not yet, but it’s on the way out. A healthy dose of skepticism is good in a reporter, but cynicism can ruin a good reporter.
There is but one truly serious ethical problem: Do you print it as a suicide or not?
You can’t write the same story twice. There is always a new angle, a change or some background you didn’t know about the first time around.