The student-run news site of The Masters School


The student-run news site of The Masters School


The student-run news site of The Masters School


Letter from the Editor: July 4, 1776, the most impactful day in American journalism history

“There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil”

Walter Lippmann, 1889-1974

Throughout American history, journalism and the free press has been crucial to our society. Journalism has served American citizens by giving power to the people. Journalists give a voice to the voiceless, keep citizens informed and educated, and act like a watchdog, holding those in power accountable. Most importantly, though, responsible journalism serves as an agent of democracy.

Most people don’t understand that July 4, 1776, is the most significant day in American journalism history because that’s how journalism in America gained and maintained its power. On that day, the Declaration of Independence was signed, guaranteeing every citizen their basic rights, including their first amendment rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press. That’s allowed for news organizations to work for the people, independent of government control, truly acting as a fourth estate.

With the power of the fourth estate, stories have been told without censorship or intervention from the government. With no external control, journalists and media organizations hold themselves to the highest standard of integrity by following the basic ethical codes of journalism which are, to tell the truth, minimize harm, be accountable, and act independently. 

With independent media, there have been many scandals in the United States exposed by journalists. Without them though, none of them would’ve been exposed or brought to light. Some of the most notable and my favorite examples would be when journalist Murrey Marder exposed disgraced Senator Joe McCarthy’s witch hunt for communists to be fake in 1953, or when Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein discovered and exposed President Richard Nixon for the Watergate scandal in 1972, and even as recent as 2014 when, with the help of Edward Snowden, the Washington Post, and The Guardian exposed the NSA for their frightening surveillance of American military personnel and civilians. The power of journalism has aided in maintaining American democracy by holding those in authority accountable because democracy is only effective when a nation’s constituents are informed by an independent body of media. 

Many countries around the world like China, Cuba, Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, and more don’t have the democracy nor the structural integrity to allow the free press. We in the United States have the freedom and that beautiful privilege that millions around the world do not have access to. If it were not for Independence Day in 1776, our rights to having a free press may not have been guaranteed. Therefore, we all owe a deep gratitude to our forefathers, The Second Continental Congress for granting us independence, and James Madison, for authoring the Bill of Rights granting us the first amendment.

The Fourth of July serves as a day for us all to reflect on all the wonderful freedoms that our beautiful nation provides, as well as recognize all the good that journalism does for all American citizens.

To journalists in America, keep fighting for democracy. We are lucky to have the freedom in our beautiful country to tell stories. Keep looking for the truth, and always tell the truth. 

God Bless America and Happy 246 birthday.

Each year on July 4, citizens celebrate America’s independence with fireworks shows from coast to coast. This year will mark 246 years of American Independence. (Seshadri Mahalingam)
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