We are lucky to be part of the PBS system where hard-hitting journalism has integrity and respect for its viewers. When I (and most Americans) think of news integrity, the nightly newscast that stands out above the rest is the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. We have been lucky to have Jim in Kansas City twice to host events. During his most recent visit, he reminded us of his rules of journalism. I think you will agree that Jim has followed these rules with the utmost professionalism.
- Does nothing he cannot defend.
- Does not distort, lie, slant or hype.
- Does not falsify facts or make up quotes.
- Covers, writes and presents every story with the care he would want if the story were about him.
- Assumes there is at least one other side or version to every story.
- Assumes the viewer is as smart and caring and good a person as he is.
- Assumes the same about all people on whom he reports.
- Assumes everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
- Assumes personal lives are a private matter until a legitimate turn in the story mandates otherwise.
- Carefully separates opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly labels it as such.
- Does not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions. No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
- Does not broadcast profanity or the end result of violence unless it is an integral and necessary part of the story and/or crucial to its understanding.
- Acknowledges that objectivity may be impossible but fairness never is.
- Journalists who are reckless with facts and reputations should be disciplined by their employers.
- His viewers have a right to know what principles guide his work and the process he uses in their practice.
- He is not in the entertainment business.
Jim Lehrer has been a steadfast source of in-depth news coverage for 36 years, never compromising the way in which news is reported. While many other news organizations use sound bites and sensationalism, Jim instead holds himself to these rules and takes his time to gather factual information and reports responsibly. We are sad to see him retire but know that the NewsHour will always be the trusted source of news that we have come to depend on.
I would also like to remind you, as the end of the year approaches, to keep KCPT in mind for a tax deductible philanthropic gift. Your support is what makes it possible for us to tell local stories through programs like Raise the Roof, a sneak peek at the Kauffman Center, The Local Show, Imagine KC, and those long standing, high quality, local shows like Kansas City Week in Review, and Ruckus. A gift to KCPT not only benefits the station but the community as a whole by bringing attention to the arts, worthy organizations like Operation Breakthrough, local political coverage — and it brings you programs like the NewsHour.
One last exciting bit of news – KCPT has received eight regional EMMY nominations for: (1) A Dendroid for KC, (2) The History of World War I; (3) KCPT SCREENtime – And What Remains, (4) Imagine KC, (5) Check Please! KC, (6) The Local Show, (7) The Local Show: Mental Health Special, and (8) Drink Smart. We are proud not only that we are achieving our mission to explore this region but that our production team is recognized for their talents in making quality programming.
Thank you for your support and stay tuned for great new programming coming your way this fall.
KCPT President and CEO