Objectivity in Journalism
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It is worth noting that non-partisan (i.e., objective) reporting coexisted easily in the same penny papers with such pungent sensationalism. “Neutrality will sleep with anyone,” as the saying goes. Right there at the creation of the modern press, paradoxes abounded. Bennett and other penny publishers touted nonpartisanship, yet on issues that were universally applauded the pennies were rabid advocates. Bennett for example was always super patriotic and always proslavery, both being conducive to pleasing his readers and thus to producing profits. During the 20th century, the ideal of objectivity in news coverage went from strength to strength.
In “Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy,” published by Oxford University Press, Alex S. Jones , a 1982 Nieman Fellow and director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, describes in its prologue his purpose and intent in writing about the “genuine crisis” in news. “It is not one of press bias, though that is how most people seem to view it,” he contends. “Rather, it is a crisis of diminishing quantity and quality, of morale and sense of mission, of values and leadership.” In this excerpt from the chapter “Objectivity’s Last Stand,” Jones reminds readers how objectivity assumed its role in the tradition of American journalism, what “authentic journalistic objectivity” looks like when practiced well, and why it matters so much to the future of news reporting.
" Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air. " ~ Henry Anatole Grunwald There is a very simple reason WikiLeaks has sent a furious storm of outrage across the globe and it has very little to do with diplomatic impropriety. It is this: The public is uninformed because of inadequate journalism. Consumers of information have little more to digest than Kim Kardashian's latest paramour or the size of Mark Zuckerberg's jet. Very few publishers or broadcasters post reporters to foreign datelines and give them time to develop relationships that lead to information.
And Now a Word from the Other Side: As a journalist trained in action rather than via textbooks, I learned very early to consider viewpoints other than my own when composing articles for publication. I recently came across a headline accusing Democrats of "highjacking democracy" through election corruption.
July 8, 2003 | Like this article?
In 1997, an organization then administered by PEJ, the Committee of Concerned Journalists, began a national conversation among citizens and news people to identify and clarify the principles that underlie journalism. After four years of research, including 20 public forums around the country, a reading of journalism history, a national survey of journalists, and more, the group released a Statement of Shared Purpose that identified nine principles. These became the basis for The Elements of Journalism, the book by PEJ Director Tom Rosenstiel and CCJ Chairman and PEJ Senior Counselor Bill Kovach. Here are those principles, as outlined in the original Statement of Shared Purpose. A Statement of Purpose After extended examination by journalists themselves of the character of journalism at the end of the twentieth century, we offer this common understanding of what defines our work.
by This page has been accessed since 29 May 1996. The oft-stated and highly desired goal of modern journalism is objectivity, the detached and unprejudiced gathering and dissemination of news and information.
DAVID BROOKS There is some dispute about whether objectivity can really exist. How do we know the truth? Well, I’m not a relativist on the subject.