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Blog 6: Objective Journalism

“Just like a scientist would begin an experiment with an idea of what the outcome is going to be, a journalist often enters a story with an idea about what the story is.But the point of objectivity is that doesn’t matter. It has to be tested against the evidence that you can find, and then you have to tell the story straight” – Alex Jones

Recently there has been a continual question of the role of journalist in society. Perhaps the biggest question uprising in the previous years is whether journalist should be completely objective in their reporting.  This is a difficult question to answer because it’s answer assumes we live in a perfect world, yet acknowledges the fact that we are flawed.

So, should all journalist be objective? Absolutely. Will this ever be able to happen in our society? Not likely. Objectivity is one of those things that all journalist strive for, yet the will never truly be able to achieve. This is largely due to the fact that human beings, by nature, are naturally inclined to have opinions. This situation almost parallels the role of a minister in society. The minister has sworn to live a pure life to his creator. No matter how hard he tries to live a  pure life, he will always be flawed. It is merely human nature.

Today’s society also makes it harder for journalist to be objective.  We feel that the media has a certain obligation to tell us their perspective. We are so used to the subjective reporting, that we wouldn’t know how to react to objective reporting. In fact, I am almost willing to bet that if Americans were exposed to pure objective reporting, many would find it bland and boring. We live in a society where opinions are highly valued. We expect people to constantly be expressing their views, and we expect to constantly be able to give our input.

Although I do believe that pure objective reporting is difficult, if not impossible, I do think that it hold many values that are important to our society.  Objective journalism would force Americans to do something that often seems to be overlooked and undervalued these days. It would force Americans to think and form their own opinions. Objective journalism, in its purest sense, would force citizens to analyze the facts then come to a logical conclusion. So often in today’s society, we forget that we have brains. We believe what the press and media want us to believe, to a certain extent, and we never stop to second guess what we believe. Objective journalism should challenge every American to form their own opinions on what it going on in the world. 

Although pure objective journalism will never be achieved, journalist should continue to strive for this common goal. Doing this will only challenge the intellects of Americans and better the country.

  1. March 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Your post gets at a good point in that “objective” journalism has a hard time telling news consumers what something means, because that interpretation of events is really a departure from objectivity. So, you’re right, purely objective journalism would leave us all responsible for figuring out what the news means. Sometimes that would be good because we would actually have to think, but other times we probably don’t have the experience to figure out what something means.

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