It would be self-censoring if we didn't say we believed that the journalism industry has a lot of introspection to do, and that a lot of people are clinging to old habits and ways of thinking.

In fact we believe that it is in the interests of our audiences and our societies as much as the journalists themselves and their livelihoods that the journalism industry needs drastic change - to be rebuilt even - and soon.

At Not on the Wires we're aiming to be experimenters with and practitioners of these new techniques and approaches.

But that's what all the other posts on this blog are about, not this one.

For all that is said about journalism changing, or needing to change, it's easy to lose sight of some of the essential maxims that all the Not on the Wires team, just like all the journalists we love that came before us, continue to hold very close. Here are five things that we think should never change in journalism.

1. What is a good story? (notability, public interest, importance)

If you don't understand this, you can never be a journalist. That's why it comes first. But notability is notoriously difficult to pin down because the judgement about whether something or somewhere 'matters' is a subjective one.

Ultimately notability comes from understanding and communicating with your target audience. You are there for them, trying to give them something that they value (and value enough to pay for).

This is a mistake all-too-frequently made by a lot of bloggers, who offer no original insight, analysis or connection to the world outside (of both the room and cyberspace).

In online journalism, the tools are there now more than ever to form a two way conversation with your audience so that you can understand them better and offer them something they will value.

Of course it's naive and extremely myopic to imagine that this type of conversation can directly set an editorial agenda - it takes careful, creative interpretation to turn that conversation into stories that your audience will like, but it's an extremely important place to start.

2. Why are you covering this now?

When we wake up each morning, the world is immeasurably different to how it was yesterday. Tomorrow it will be different again.

It is these differences - between yesterday and today, and between today and tomorrow - that we should primarily concern ourselves with.

Lest it does need pointing out, that's where the word journalism comes from - it's no coincidence that jour is the French word for 'day'. Again, the number of bloggers who seem to have failed to understand this is quite astounding.

Some of the time, the answer to the "why now" question will be "because it's interesting," or "because it's important people who don't know find out" and that will be enough by itself, but generally, whether it's fashion reporting or conflict reporting, for all but the most intellectual members of your audience there's no such thing as a truly evergreen story.

The tools for knowing what has changed, even on the other side of the world, are obviously many. But whatever the tool or technology you choose, what's most critical is to build trusting relationships with people around the world who will tell you what's going on as soon as it happens.

3. Asking questions, uncovering

As Sherlock Holmes once said to Dr. Watson, his sidekick, "one must never assume."

"Investigative Journalism" shouldn't take the pressure off the rest of us: all journalists, whether reporting on corruption, new technologies, or the sex life of some talentless celebrity, should think of themselves as investigators, at least in comparison to their audience.

The audience isn't in the position to see the thing we are reporting on, or describe it, or to ask why, so if we are, we have to make sure we do.

Whether one carries an A6 lined notebook, a secret voice recorder, or an iPad, we believe this first-hand collection of information will never be usurped by anything else.

4. Making analysis, explaining

Ultimately, this is the payload. Journalists are society's analysts, or they are supposed to be.

George Orwell repeatedly said that he hated journalists, because they told lies and spin for a living, but ultimately he is (somewhat inaccurately) remembered as a journalist, and not those 'liars'.

That's because, as something of an artist with the English language, he took the trouble to go to the Spanish civil war, or to live for months on the streets of 1930s London and Paris, in order to communicate to his audience something about those issues and experiences.

The direct application of skilled craft, whether it be writing as it was for Orwell, or one of any number of other communication and presentation skills is absolutely essential in turning a complicated, upsetting, difficult world into a complicated, upsetting, but easy to understand one.

From graphs, motion graphics, diagrams, videos, audio slideshows, photography, and above all, words themselves - pick your craft. But you have to be good at it. The point is to make things easier to understand, without dumbing down.

5. Speaking of which - writing skills.

We don't all have to become the next George Orwell, but there's no substitute for knowing how to actually write.

Previous generations of journalists always made good writing skills an entry-level requirement, and ours needs to be no different. Many of the education systems of today aren't as thorough about this as they were for prior generations, so the onus is more on us to fill in the gaps (and fix those systems for our kids).

Clear writing is a sign of a clear mind, and we believe that as a journalist you can't make issues clear for other people (4) if we aren't able to write them all down accurately from memory and in the right order for ourselves.

Got more to add? If there are other abstract qualities that you think journalism has, which ought to be remembered by people doing it independently or online, please do leave a comment - we'd love to hear more!