Its first loyalty is to citizens.
Its essence is a discipline of verification.
Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
In the new century, one of the most profound questions for democratic society is whether an independent press survives. The answer will depend on whether journalists have the clarity and conviction to articulate what an independent press means, and whether, as citizens, the rest of us care.
-Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism