Member Rara Avis
Isn't objectivity the mainstay of journalism?
Usually, Karen, yea. In spite of what Mike believes.
Teachers are supposed to be objective, as well. Policemen and judges. And, okay, maybe anthropologists, too. Trouble is, true objectivity leaves a person absolutely no basis on which to make decisions. And journalism, like all of life, is just filled with decisions.
Which stories do you want to run in your publication? Unless you can print everything, obviously not possible, you're going to have to make some non-objective decisions. Which facts do you want to include in each story? Which facts are too unimportant to warrant inclusion? What order of importance do you want to give each story? What order of importance for those facts? How big is the headline? Does this story rate a picture?
Whether your decisions are motivated by a hidden agenda, as Mike often contends, or by a desire to sell newspapers, every one of those decisions is going to introduce subjectivity into your journalism. Every decision is the result of what you think about what you're reporting, not simply on the facts of what you're reporting. It can't ever be helped, can't ever be eliminated. Good journalists try, just as do good teachers, policemen, and judges. No one ever completely succeeds.
You don't have to read everything, but you DO have to read widely. And, more importantly, you have to read critically. The bias is always there. Look for it. Look for your own, too. Only in looking for the bias can you hope to guard against it.