The wisdom of great editor Ben Bradlee

One of the best editors the world has ever seen died this week.

Onetime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee was the man with the courage to push the button on Watergate.

He was big on bravery and the exposure of the truth – saying “As long as a journalist tells the truth, in conscience and fairness, it is not his job to worry about consequences. The truth is never as dangerous as a lie in the long run. I truly believe the truth sets men free.”

There are some more marvellous quotes from him here.

I like the idea that he wandered around the newsroom, motivating his army of reporters with the message ‘hey, great story’ and that he wanted them to “have a good time”.

And I like his description of journalism as ‘the best damn job in the world.’

But the quote I love the most is perhaps the best encapsulation I have ever seen of the need for journalists to look harder at times for their sense of proportion.

“When the history of the world is written, this will not be in it,” he said.


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