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Beyond NewsThe Future of Journalism$
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Mitchell Stephens

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159388

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159388.001.0001

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“Principles, Opinions, Sentiments, and Affections”

“Principles, Opinions, Sentiments, and Affections”

The Journalism Out of Which the United States Was Born

(p.1) 1 “Principles, Opinions, Sentiments, and Affections”
Beyond News

Mitchell Stephens

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines journalism as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson knew it and uses pieces of writing from their day to introduce some standards for distinguishing between successful and unsuccessful wisdom journalism. It begins with an overview of the history of newspapers in America before turning to Franklin's contributions to the still relatively new phenomenon during his time: the public discussion of issues in print. It then considers the qualities of wisdom journalism that also characterized a tradition of journalism dating back to Franklin, and how journalism might “benefit the reader” and improve “knowledge.” It also discusses the importance of exclusive, enterprising, or investigative reporting and the application of standards from rhetoric and related fields to argumentative journalism. Finally, the chapter explores some considerations that might help us judge the quality of interpretive, argumentative journalism and thereby help explain what does not qualify as wisdom journalism.

Keywords:   journalism, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, wisdom journalism, newspapers, investigative reporting, rhetoric, argumentative journalism

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