Ray Didinger's Eye-Opening Talk on Journalism: Truth vs. Speed

Neumann University recently had the privilege of hosting the legendary sports journalist Ray Didinger on September 7th for a captivating talk on his illustrious career and retirement. Didinger, a seasoned journalist and commentator, who is the only sports journalist to have covered all six Philadelphia championships, used this opportunity to voice his concerns about the current state of journalism.

He argued that today's journalism is increasingly scripted and focused on being the first to break the news, often at the expense of accuracy and depth of reporting.

Didinger's career is a remarkable testament to his dedication to sports journalism. His journey began in 1968 as a sportswriter for Delaware County Daily Times, where he was a reporter, before becoming a columnist, radio and television personality, author, and screenwriter for 54 years.

Didinger's intimate knowledge of the game of football and his ability to connect with both players and fans set him apart from his peers. His contributions extended beyond print media to television and radio, where he became a familiar and respected voice in the world of sports commentary.

In May 2022, Ray Didinger retired from his full-time position as a sportswriter. However, retirement didn't mean the end of his passion for sports and journalism. Instead, it provided him with the opportunity to reflect on the state of the profession he loved. During his talk, Didinger shared his concerns about the direction journalism has taken since his retirement.

One of the central themes of Didinger's discussion was the increasing emphasis on speed in journalism. In the age of 24/7 news cycles and social media, the race to break news stories has become frantic. Journalists are under immense pressure to be the first to deliver updates, often resulting in hastily written, incomplete, or even inaccurate reports.

Didinger pointed out that this shift towards speed has led to a troubling trend in which journalism becomes more about sensationalism than substance. The rush to get information out first can sometimes lead to the neglect of fact-checking and in-depth analysis. He argued that the journalistic integrity he cherished during his career is eroding in favor of the need for clicks, likes, and shares.

He passionately advocated for the importance of getting information right rather than simply being the first to report it. He stressed that journalism's primary mission should always be to provide accurate, well-researched, and balanced information to the public. In his view, responsible journalism plays a vital role in upholding the principles of democracy by informing citizens and holding those in power accountable.

As he neared the conclusion of his talk, Didinger expressed genuine concern for the future of journalism. He emphasized the need for young journalists to resist the pressures of speed-driven reporting and stay true to the core principles of journalism, which include objectivity, accuracy, and the pursuit of truth.

Ray Didinger's visit to Neumann University provided a thought-provoking glimpse into the world of journalism from the perspective of a seasoned professional. His candid critique of the industry's current trajectory highlighted the importance of maintaining journalistic integrity in an era of rapid information dissemination.

Didinger's message serves as a reminder that, in the pursuit of truth, quality should always take precedence over speed. As journalism continues to evolve, his insights offer valuable guidance for aspiring journalists and a call to action for those already shaping the field.