How journalism reflects Franciscanism

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis, here are some thoughts about how journalism reflects Franciscanism. 

When I read St. Bonaventure University’s values, it screams the best of journalism to me. The values, of course, tie to the university’s Franciscan traditions. It mentions the “dignity of everyone” and focuses on three key principles: compassion, wisdom and integrity. Connecting that to journalism is easy.

Journalists must think about those whose voices are often not heard and report without fear or favor, to use the common saying. In the work journalists do, compassion is central. A key tenant of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics is “minimize harm,” meaning our work should not be reckless. It’s important to understand those we cover and that our work will affect their lives.

Wisdom, likewise, is what we seek to provide through seeking truth and reporting it (also a pillar of SPJ’s code).

Finally, integrity is foundational to journalism and words like responsibility, honesty and transparency are found in both the university’s values statement and SPJ’s code. It’s no wonder so many exceptional journalists have honed their craft at St. Bonaventure. The university’s Franciscan foundations are the bedrock of the best of journalism.  

Aaron Chimbel, Dean
Jandoli School of Communication
St. Bonaventure University

One of the core values of Franciscanism that I admire so much is the respect for the individual. That’s a core part of a journalist’s mission, too. Journalists listen to people’s stories–particularly those who otherwise have no voice–and share them. To do that well requires a respect for each person’s dignity and perspective. 

Chris Mackowski, Professor
Jandoli School of Communication
St. Bonaventure University

Seek the truth. Walk the streets, listen to the people, and give them voices.

Rayna Banks, Senior Managing Producer
ESPN Investigative/News Enterprise Unit
2003 Jandoli School graduate

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Categories: Jandoli Institute

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