[EDITORIALS]Newspaper Day 2004Today is the 48th Newspaper Day. These days, the environment surrounding newspapers is undergoing rapid changes, like a whirlwind. From one side, newspapers are being chased by street papers distributed for free. On the other, they are under constant threat from “new media” such as the Internet.
And the gap between the younger generation and their elders, who are more attuned to reading newspapers, is also a challenge.
On top of all that, conflicts and tensions ― between mainstream newspapers and the broadcasting media, and between major papers and smaller papers ― can be added. The newspaper seen in today’s mirror suggests that the industry needs revitalization.
In this era of change, we believe that we must go back to where we started and keep the basic principles of journalism so that we can promise our readers that we will make a new leap forward. That is because newspapers thrive on the confidence of their readers as trees do in the soil. Looking back on our past, it is difficult to say that we have won the confidence of our readers without fail. One example: 302 of 724 petitions for arbitration at the nation’s media board were complaints against major newspapers.
As the JoongAng Ilbo declared on March 20, our newspaper is starting anew. We take it as our starting point that we strictly differentiate facts from opinion. If we clarify what is right and what is wrong, we can achieve social integration. We will also refrain from unnecessary competition for fast reports where accuracy could suffer. We will exert all efforts to examining information to verify the facts, even if the story is an exclusive one. By doing so, we will build up the confidence of our readers.
Readers are also responsible for guiding newspapers to the right path. Although Scandinavian countries are known for strong information technology, the average newspaper readership there is over 90 percent. In the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the United States, the situation is similar. Newspapers have a role in an advanced economy. We must lead our society to a culture of rational and logical thinking. If we can cherish the love of our readers, we can be born again as a “voice of the people and a light that shines on the world.”