An old newspaperman taught me that once. He said it was the one constant, inviolate truth to remember about this business. More important than all of the scoops, the bylines or the number of press awards you won. “If you ever compromise your integrity, Malloy,” he told me, “you are lost.” I believed that then, and I believe it now.
There’s something else that I have learned too. Integrity is an absolute value. You can’t lose a little bit of your integrity any more than you can be a little bit pregnant. You’re either all in or all out on the integrity issue. And, once you’ve crossed over that irrevocable moral line, you can never go back. No matter how hard you try.
I think about all of this a lot these days. Mostly late at night when I lay awake, replaying all of the events that got me to where I am.
And trying to make some sort of sense out of the incongruity of it all.
The most important thing a journalist has is his integrity.
I lost my integrity somewhere along the way.
And yet I am still a journalist.
So what does that say about me?