Archive for Friday, February 11, 2011

Former Los Angeles Times editor John S. Carroll says journalism ideologies eroding

Carroll to receive William Allen White national citation today

February 11, 2011


John S. Carroll, recipient of the 2011 William Allen White Foundation’s national citation, is a former editor of The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader.

John S. Carroll, recipient of the 2011 William Allen White Foundation’s national citation, is a former editor of The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun and the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader.

A longtime former newspaper reporter and editor said journalists’ ideologies are experiencing a slow erosion.

John S. Carroll is a former editor of the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and Lexington Herald-Leader. He is scheduled to receive the William Allen White Foundation’s national citation this afternoon.

In an interview on Thursday, he said it’s important — particularly in the times we live in — for journalists, one, to think about their fundamental beliefs, and, two, to be able to clearly state why they’re doing what they do every day.

“Journalistic ideology has weakened over the last couple of generations,” he said.

Today, he’s living in Lexington, Ky., with his wife and working on a book and remains involved with a number of nonprofits.

One such nonprofit, the News Literacy Project, seeks to help middle and high school students understand the difference between good and bad information online.

“In the online world, there is a lot of stuff that looks like journalism,” Carroll said. “Some of it is journalism, in fact. Some of it is propaganda. And some of it is marketing.”

One story in particular that stood out when looking back was one that exposed how Philadelphia police detectives were beating suspects to get confessions.

He oversaw two journalists, Bill Marimow and Jonathan Neumann, who did the reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer that earned a Pulitzer Prize.

The work led to a reversal of a homicide conviction and to a federal investigation.

He said it was particularly satisfying as a young editor to contribute to work that had an impact on the world.

“When you go to work, you want it to mean something bigger than a means of entertaining yourself and getting a paycheck,” he said.

Carroll would go on to be involved in many more award-winning stories. The Los Angeles Times won 13 Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure as editor, and coverage he directed earned Pulitzers at The Baltimore Sun and the Lexington Herald-Leader.

He said he was honored to be named the recipient of this year’s annual award from the William Allen White Foundation.

“I was thrilled,” Carroll said. “I was especially thrilled when I read the list of people who have received it in the past.”

The list includes a number of his bosses who taught him the craft of journalism, he said, and were people he admired and looked up to throughout his career.

“I never really considered myself as a peer of theirs,” he said. “I still don’t.”


Ralph Reed 7 years, 4 months ago

Excellent! Congratulations!

From the article, " '“Journalistic ideology has weakened over the last couple of generations.' " That's about 40 - 45 years. I feel he's right. That's slightly before the 68 Tet Offensive. If you look at much of the "journalism" today on both sides of the fence (LJW included), very little is objective.

Looking forwards to his book.

devobrun 7 years, 4 months ago

Sorry to tell you this, Mr. Carroll, but.....: The concept of journalism has gone the way of science (and other things as well).

The loss is palpable and current and real as anything you ever reported. It is a loss of personal integrity. It is a devaluation of the concept of individual responsibility.

As a result, we have corporate, government, spiritual, and intellectual subterfuge.

Political power that exists in each of these realms has overtaken the endeavor itself. The goal is the reason to do the thing. They call it post-modernism.

If the thing is political power, then journalism, science, government regulation, and intellectual pursuit all become a comedy of entertainment. The endeavor of each is to sway public opinion toward the political goal. To heck with anything that might smack of "truth". Ha. The truth is a quaint and ignoble covert thing.

Get it, Mr. Carroll?

You lived in a world that no longer exists.

Your journalistic achievements are a memory. The new journalism is motivated by the new way of is selfish. It is narcissistic. I am sorry for my generation (I'm 58) that squandered your ideals.

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