Here is my first attempt at responding to Jay Rosen's advice to journalists. I largely agree with his basic points. But I propose an additional distinction between ideological polemics and journalism. When a story is complex, journalists ought to examine whatever thesis they hold and attempt, by reporting, to falsify it. A good story demolishes counterarguments, but it must be aware of them. Whatever this entails in practice I think suggests a very subtle difference in habit: journalists ought to focus on power, actually, versus power, representationally. We need to worry less, not more, about the metadata attached to our words -- less about bias, less about what Jay Rosen will think, less about the nasty Tweets we're bound to get, less about what others assume of our motivations, and devote that anxious energy to Jay's core maxims, which are right on the money.
Be strongly for transparency, which means our ability to see into the house of power. It is part of a commitment to transparency that one respects what is genuinely private, distinguishing it from what is truly public.
Be strongly against opacity as a tool of power.Be strongly for accountability in government and civil society, especially where public money, human lives and people's livelihoods are at stake.Be strongly against demagoguery (that's when a leader makes use of common prejudices, false claims and false promises in order to win power...) which means trying to raise the cost of participating in it.
Transparency defined as the "ability to see into the house of power," to understand how and why decisions are made, coupled with accountability, the ability to force people to stand by and stand FOR the consequences of their decisions, the opposition to using opacity as a tool of power -- these are, as journalism students surely know, very noble and often very hard ideals to live up to 100 percent of the time.
But I wonder. Perhaps things that are genuinely private sometimes are not private at other times and shouldn't be; as citizens, journalists have responsibilities that extend to the welfare of their brothers and sisters but also to the security of the republic, and sometimes that means making bargains, or deliberately being opaque, especially when human lives are at stake.