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The Wake Weekly newspaper has rolled off the presses and into readers’ hands since 1947. While this process has changed quite a bit in the past half-century — along with the look of our paper — our guiding principles haven’t. As we launch into our 66th year, we again want to re-articulate to you, our reader, our drive to be a newspaper based on honesty, fairness and accuracy.
These traits are summed up well in a Statement of Principle adopted by the North Carolina Press Association 50 years ago, which we publish in the first issue of each new year.
We hope this gives you a better understanding of what we strive for with each week’s issue. We look forward to serving you in 2014.
A Statement of Principle
The newspapers of North Carolina, conscious of their obligations and mindful of their own human imperfections, rededicate themselves to these principles which guide a responsible press in a free society.
Freedom of the press exists in a democracy not for the power or profit or pleasure for any individual, but for the common good. The right of the people to know cannot be denied or diminished without endangering democracy itself. It is the obligation of the press to provide accurate, timely and complete information about all developments that affect the people’s well-being.
Given the facts, the people will usually reach wise decisions.
The trusteeship of a free press is the final responsibility of the publisher. He may share it, but he cannot escape it. The good publisher provides the necessary money and space for adequate coverage of the essential news and employs personnel of integrity, ability and sound judgment.
He exalts accuracy above every other consideration and insists upon prompt, full and even generous correction when errors occur.
Every citizen deserves the stimulus of a strong editorial page, on which the editor voices his own well-informed opinion clearly and forcefully, yet willingly provides space for contrary opinion.
The good editor often takes sides, but without arrogance or intolerance. He champions boldly the rights of the people, sometimes against government itself.
He provides leadership, particularly in his own community. He has a special responsibility to defend the weak, to prod the public conscience and to speak out against the injustices of which a majority can sometimes be guilty.
The primary function of a newspaper is to report the news. The good reporter strives constantly to find and write the truth. This task, no matter how difficult, is his inescapable responsibility.
To be true, a story, together with its headlines, must be honest. To be honest, it must be fair. To be fair, it must be accurate and complete.
Honesty demands objectivity, the submergence of prejudice and personal conviction. Fairness demands regard for the rights of others. Accuracy demands courage, painstaking care and perspective to assure a total picture as true as its individual facts.
The final test of every story, every headline, every editorial, every newspaper is:
Is it honest?
Is it fair?
Is it accurate?
To the end that they can more frequently answer these questions in the affirmative, the newspapers of North Carolina adopt this Statement of Principle.