Monday, August 04, 2008

Perhaps a statement of faith is not needed here. In choosing to make one I realize that my own is not regional and that fellow newspapermen everywhere share my beliefs and motivations. But I am a Southerner by ancestry, by birth, by upbringing, by residence, and by choice. As a Southerner, I believe that the South needs now as it needed more than a century ago a special dedication because of special problems which have so long plagued us - problems, it should be said, that are being discovered not to be regional at all. So I set down here a credo which has been a guide to some of my predecessors and contemporaries and disregarded by some others. I would not be honest if I did not state my conviction that there remain too many of the latter and too few of the former.

I do believe that mine is a peculiarly-dedicated profession just as are the ministry and teaching. We have objectives which of themselves have nothing to do with the making of money or friends. Newspaper editing is a challenge to pursue unending goals, all of which represent the same challenge. Briefly stated the goals are these:

to keep men informed,
to make men think,
to make men ashamed,
and to keep men free.

I an a Southerner, I repeat, and I speak with prejudice. I love the land of my ancestors. I am cognizant of the fact that we were the only nation within a nation and that we were destroyed by musket and bayonet and that we came back. Some of the trappings may be vengeful, but the South has not been a land of long vengeance. We belong.

-Hodding Carter, Their Words Were Bullets: The Southern Press in War, Reconstruction, and Peace, 1969.

Aside from the constant references to men (and, irony of ironies: Carter's wife Betty ended up being the one delivering the lectures collected in Bullets), I'd say this is still pretty damn relevant.

1 comment:

saintseester said...

Now you've piqued my interest. I want to read more!