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What Journalism Textbooks Teach Us About Newsroom Ethos
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: Textbooks and Newsroom Ethos 5 The analysis involved a review of the entire textbook with a concentrated search for passages that focused on the practice of reporting, in particular those that instructed reporters how to cover what could be considered traumatic events. The analysis revealed that textbooks encouraged detachment and discouraged the displaying of emotions. Aspiring journalists were taught that they were to remain cool and impartial observers, especially when faced with covering traumatic events. Again and again, they were told to not let their feelings sway them. They were told that courage was an important attribute for a journalist because taking risks was part of the job - and, at the same time, they were taught that some of the most important and influential journalists had become martyrs, dying heroic deaths in their pursuit of the truth. These findings affirmed the conclusions of prior researchers who looked at textbooks, particularly in respect to the role of gender in the newsroom. 14 Indeed, the analysis revealed that textbooks taught that journalism was a macho profession – man‟s work – and that, even for women, the highest compliment was to be called a “newsman.” Perhaps one of the most surprising findings involved the identities of the men and women who wrote these textbooks, and who, in the process, helped create this mythology. The authors were not hardboiled reporters spinning romantic tales of their trade; rather they were largely journalism professors, with advanced degrees, many of whom were acutely conscious that they were laying the foundation for what was becoming a new profession in the early part of the 20 th century. The Emergence of Journalism Schools, Professional Codes and Textbooks The study of journalism textbooks has provided a rich trove of study for researchers. Textbooks teaching students about what could be construed as the concept of objectivity have

Authors: McCaffrey, Raymond.
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Running Head: Textbooks and Newsroom Ethos              5 
 
     The analysis involved a review of the entire textbook with a concentrated search for passages 
that focused on the practice of reporting, in particular those that instructed reporters how to cover 
what could be considered traumatic events.  
     The analysis revealed that textbooks encouraged detachment and discouraged the displaying 
of emotions. Aspiring journalists were taught that they were to remain cool and impartial 
observers, especially when faced with covering traumatic events. Again and again, they were 
told to not let their feelings sway them. They were told that courage was an important attribute 
for a journalist because taking risks was part of the job  - and, at the same time, they were taught 
that some of the most important and influential journalists had become martyrs, dying heroic 
deaths in their pursuit of the truth.  
     These findings affirmed the conclusions of prior researchers who looked at textbooks, 
particularly in respect to the role of gender in the newsroom.
14
 Indeed, the analysis revealed that 
textbooks taught that journalism was a macho profession – man‟s work – and that, even for 
women, the highest compliment was to be called a “newsman.” Perhaps one of the most 
surprising findings involved the identities of the men and women who wrote these textbooks, and 
who, in the process, helped create this mythology. The authors were not hardboiled reporters 
spinning romantic tales of their trade; rather they were largely journalism professors, with 
advanced degrees, many of whom were acutely conscious that they were laying the foundation 
for what was becoming a new profession in the early part of the 20
th
 century.     
The Emergence of Journalism Schools, Professional Codes and Textbooks 
     The study of journalism textbooks has provided a rich trove of study for researchers. 
Textbooks teaching students about what could be construed as the concept of objectivity have 


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