Journalism Quotes

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.-A. J. Liebling

They consume a considerable quantity of our paper manufacture, employ our artisans in printing, and find business for great numbers of indigent persons.-Joseph Addison

The idea that media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that's about tenth or eleventh on their list.-Abbie Hoffman

Journalism - an ability to meet the challenge of filling the space.-Rebecca West

There aren't any embarrassing questions -- only embarrassing answers.-Carl Rowan

Remember, son, many a good story has been ruined by over-verification.-James Gordon Bennett

To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.-Aleister Crowley

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.-Ben Hecht

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be read once.-Cyril Connolly

USA Today has come out with a new survey - apparently, three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.-David Letterman

Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.-Elbert Hubbard

Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.-Frank Zappa

Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.-G. K. Chesterton

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.-Gore Vidal

All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.-H. L. Mencken

A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not.-Henry Fielding

It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.-Jerry Seinfeld

Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.-Jimmy Breslin

Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.-Norman Mailer

But what is the difference between literature and journalism?...Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all.-Oscar Wilde

Every journalist has a novel in him, which is an excellent place for it.-Russel Lynes

Newspapermen learn to call a murderer 'an alleged murderer' and the King of England 'the alleged King of England' to avoid libel suits.-Stephen Leacock

Advertisements... contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.-Thomas Jefferson

Journalism is literature in a hurry.-Matthew Arnold

Never believe in anything until it has been officially denied.-Otto von Bismarck

What's the difference between a 3-week-old puppy and a sportswriter? In 6 weeks, the puppy will stop whining.-Mike Ditka

Try to be conspicuously accurate in everything, pictures as well as text. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more interesting.-William Randolph Hearst

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.-Thomas Jefferson

Journalism without a moral position is impossible. Every journalist is a moralist. It's absolutely unavoidable.-Marguerite Duras

Wooing the press is an exercise roughly akin to picnicking with a tiger. You might enjoy the meal, but the tiger always eats last.-Maureen Dowd

I read the newspaper avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction.-Aneurin Bevan

The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they follow. Bigness means weakness.-Eric Sevareid

If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails of that country will be filled with good people.-Daniel Moynihan

I read no newspaper now but Ritchie's, and in that chiefly the advertisements, for they contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.-Thomas Jefferson

Journalism is merely history's first draft.-Geoffrey C. Ward

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.-Oscar Wilde

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.-Oscar Wilde

Nobody's interested in sweetness and light.-Hedda Hopper

The press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.-James Fenimore Cooper

The great art in writing advertisements is the finding out a proper method to catch the reader's eye; without which a good thing may pass over unobserved, or be lost among commissions of bankrupt.-Joseph Addison

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.-Thomas Jefferson

I would . . . earnestly advise them for their good to order this paper to be punctually served up, and to be looked upon as a part of the tea equipage.-Joseph Addison

Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporter's gallery yonder, there sat a fourth estate more important far than they all.-Thomas Carlyle

Numerous politicians have seized absolute power and muzzled the press. Never in history has the press seized absolute power and muzzled the politicians.-Karl Otto von Schonhausen Bismarck

Hear, Land o' Cakes, and brither Scots, Frae Maidenkirk to Johnie Groat's;- If there's a hole in a' your coats, I rede you tent it: A chield's amang you takin notes, And, faith, he'll prent it.-Robert Burns

A would-be satirist, a hired buffoon, A monthly scribbler of some low lampoon, Condemn'd to drudge, the meanest of the mean, And furbish falsehoods for a magazine.-Lord Byron

A Fourth Estate, of Able Editors, springs up.-Thomas Carlyle

The editor sat in his sanctum, his countenance furrowed with care, His mind at the bottom of business, his feet at the top of a chair, His chair-arm an elbow supporting, his right hand upholding his head, His eyes on his dusty table, with different documents spread.-Will Carleton

Great is journalism. Is not every able editor a ruler of the world, being the persuader of it?-Thomas Carlyl

Ask how to live? Write, write, write, anything; The world's a fine believing world, write news.-Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

[The opposition Press] which is in the hands of malecontents who have failed in their career.-Karl Otto von Schonhausen Bismarck

A parliament speaking through reporters to Buncombe and the Twenty-seven millions, mostly fools.-Thomas Carlyle

Only a newspaper! Quick read, quick lost, Who sums the treasure that it carries hence? Torn, trampled under feet, who counts thy cost, Star-eyed intelligence?-Mary Clemmer

I believe it has been said that one copy of the "Times" contains more useful information than the whole of the historical works of Thucydides.-Richard Cobden

Did Charity prevail, the press would prove A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love.-William Cowper

To serve thy generation, this thy fate: "Written in water," swiftly fades thy name; But he who loves his kind does, first and late, A work too late for fame.-Mary Clemmer

Caused by a dearth of scandal should the vapors Distress our fair ones--let them read the prayers.-David Garrick

Journalism consists largely in saying 'Lord Jones died' to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.-Gilbert Keith Chesterton

How shall I speak thee, or thy power address Thou God of our idolatry, the Press. . . . . Like Eden's dead probationary tree, Knowledge of good and evil is from thee.-William Cowper

The liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political, and religious rights of an Englishman.-Junius

You (reporters) should have printed what he meant, not what he said.-Earl Bush

He comes, the herald of a noisy world, With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks; News from all nations lumbering at his back.-William Cowper

When found, make a note of.-Charles Dickens

Miscellanists are the most popular writers among every people; for it is they who form a communication between the learned and the unlearned, and, as it were, throw a bridge between those two great divisions of the public.-Isaac D'Israeli

It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes. - Oscar Wilde

In America journalism is apt to be regarded as an extension of history: in Britain, as an extension of conversation. - Anthony Sampson

There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. By carefully chronicling the current events of contemporary life, it shows us of what very little importance such events really are. By invariably discussing the unnecessary, it makes us understand what things are requisite for culture, and what are not. - Oscar Wilde

A professional whose job it is to explain to others what it personally does not understand. - Lord Northcliffe

I am a journalist and, under the modern journalist's code of Olympian objectivity (and total purity of motive), I am absolved of responsibility. We journalists don't have to step on roaches. All we have to do is turn on the kitchen light and watch the critters scurry. - P J O'Rourke

The real news is bad news. - Marshall Mcluhan

The press is like the air, a chartered libertine. - William Pitt

We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused -- in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into pop-gunnery -- by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press -- their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner. - Edgar Allan Poe

Bad manners make a journalist. - Oscar Wilde

Europe has a press that stresses opinions; America a press, radio, and television that emphasize news. - James Reston

Now he is a statesman, when what he really wants is to be what most reporters are, adult delinquents. - Peggy Noonan

Journalists are like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark. - Arthur Schopenhauer

I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon. - Tom Stoppard

Gonzo journalism is a style of ''reporting'' based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism -- and the best journalists have always known this. True gonzo reporting needs the talents of a master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor. Because the writer must be a participant in the scene, while he's writing it -- or at least taping it, or even sketching it. Or all three. Probably the closest analogy to the ideal would be a film director/producer who writes his own scripts, does his own camera work and somehow manages to film himself in action, as the protagonist or at least a main character. - Hunter S Thompson

If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people -- including me -- would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. - Hunter S Thompson

In the real world, nothing happens at the right place at the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to correct that. - Mark Twain

If, for instance, they have heard something from the postman, they attribute it to ''a semi-official statement''; if they have fallen into conversation with a stranger at a bar, they can conscientiously describe him as ''a source that has hitherto proved unimpeachable.'' It is only when the journalist is reporting a whim of his own, and one to which he attaches minor importance, that he defines it as the opinion of ''well-informed circles.'' - Evelyn Waugh

The facts fairly and honestly presented; truth will take care of itself. - William Allen White

I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth. - Reinhold Niebuhr

If the reporter has killed our imagination with his truth, he threatens our life with his lies. - Karl Kraus


Journalist: a person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes. - Karl Kraus

Every journalist owes tribute to the evil one. - Jean De La Fontaine

The man must have a rare recipe for melancholy, who can be dull in Fleet Street. - Charles Lamb

More than illness or death, the American journalist fears standing alone against the whim of his owners or the prejudices of his audience. Deprive William Safire of the insignia of the New York Times, and he would have a hard time selling his truths to a weekly broadsheet in suburban Duluth. - Lewis H Lapham

The journalists have constructed for themselves a little wooden chapel, which they also call the Temple of Fame, in which they put up and take down portraits all day long and make such a hammering you can't hear yourself speak. - Georg C Lichtenberg

Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one. - A J Liebling

If a person is not talented enough to be a novelist, not smart enough to be a lawyer, and his hands are too shaky to perform operations, he becomes a journalist. - Norman Mailer

Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. - Janet Malcolm

The dominant and most deep-dyed trait of the journalist is his timorousness. Where the novelist fearlessly plunges into the water of self-exposure, the journalist stands trembling on the shore in his beach robe. The journalist confines himself to the clean, gentlemanly work of exposing the grieves and shames of others. - Janet Malcolm

I get up in the morning with an idea for a three-volume novel and by nightfall it's a paragraph in my column. - Don Marquis

Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read. - Frank Zappa

I hate journalists. There is nothing in them but tittering jeering emptiness. They have all made what Dante calls the Great Refusal. The shallowest people on the ridge of the earth. - William Butler Yeats

Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you're at it. - Horace Greeley

A petty reason perhaps why novelists more and more try to keep a distance from journalists is that novelists are trying to write the truth and journalists are trying to write fiction. - Graham Greene

Journalism is the entertainment business. - Frank Herbert

Journalism is literature in a hurry. - Matthew Arnold

A journalist is a person who has mistaken their calling. - Otto Von Bismarck

Journalism over here is not only an obsession but a drawback that cannot be overrated. Politicians are frightened of the press, and in the same way as bull-fighting has a brutalizing effect upon Spain (of which she is unconscious), headlines of murder, rape, and rubbish, excite and demoralize the American public. - Margot Asquith

I find I journalize too tediously. Let me try to abbreviate. - James Boswell

Personal columnists are jackals and no jackal has been known to live on grass once he had learned about meat -- no matter who killed the meat for him. - Ernest Hemingway


We need not be theologians to see that we have shifted responsibility for making the world interesting from God to the newspaperman. - Daniel J Boorstin

He types his labored column -- weary drudge! Senile fudge and solemn: spare, editor, to condemn these dry leaves of his autumn. - Robertson Davies

Write the news as if your very life depended on it. It does! - Heywood Broun

Our job is like a baker's work -- his rolls are tasty as long as they're fresh; after two days they're stale; after a week, they're covered with mould and fit only to be thrown out. - Ryszard Kapuscinski

Journalism is organized gossip. - Edward Eggleston

I see journalists as the manual workers, the laborers of the word. Journalism can only be literature when it is passionate. - Marguerite Duras

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once. - Cyril Connolly

Evidently there are plenty of people in journalism who have neither got what they liked nor quite grown to like what they get. They write pieces they do not much enjoy writing, for papers they totally despise, and the sad process ends by ruining their style and disintegrating their personality, two developments which in a writer cannot be separate, since his personality and style must progress or deteriorate together, like a married couple in a country where death is the only permissible divorce. - Claud Cockburn

People accuse journalism of being too personal; but to me it has always seemed far too impersonal. It is charged with tearing away the veils from private life; but it seems to me to be always dropping diaphanous but blinding veils between men and men. The Yellow Press is abused for exposing facts which are private; I wish the Yellow Press did anything so valuable. It is exactly the decisive individual touches that it never gives; and a proof of this is that after one has met a man a million times in the newspapers it is always a complete shock and reversal to meet him in real life. - Gilbert K Chesterton

Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another. - Gilbert K Chesterton

Journalism consists largely in saying ''Lord James is dead'' to people who never knew Lord James was alive. - Gilbert K Chesterton

Journalism without a moral position is impossible. Every journalist is a moralist. It's absolutely unavoidable. A journalist is someone who looks at the world and the way it works, someone who takes a close look at things every day and reports what she sees, someone who represents the world, the event, for others. She cannot do her work without judging what she sees. - Marguerite Duras

Journalism is concerned with events, poetry with feelings. Journalism is concerned with the look of the world, poetry with the feel of the world. - Archibald MacLeish

My trade of journalism is sodden these days with practitioners who seem incapable of admiring others or anything. - Roger Rosenblatt

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once. - Cyril Connolly

The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. - Oscar Wilde

A long life in journalism convinced me many presidents ago that there should be a large air space between a journalist and the head of a state. - Walter Lippmann

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands. - Oscar Wilde

Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read. - Frank Zappa

Literature is slaughtered by journalism. - Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo

But what is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all. - Oscar Wilde

Last modified 11-Sep-2011 11:18 PM