If ‘Objectivity’ Is Impossible to Achieve, What Hope Is There for the Journalist Who Wants to Be and Be Seen as Professional?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By idknever
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Journalism is an important tool in today’s society in its role to keep the populace informed of issues and events through the news. The Concise Oxford Dictionary describes the journalist as “one whose business it is to edit, or write for a journal, especially a newspaper.” Catherine Dean, Lecturer at Strathmore University states “journalism is understood in broader terms, to refer to the art of communicating, transmitting facts, events, information,opinions and so on to the general public, using any of the wide variety of means for communication that exist in our society today.” (Dean, 2006, p. 3) News should be “new, interesting and relevant.” (Maxwell, 2000, p. 36) . It should therefore have objectivity in its presentation. To be objective is defined by the Oxford Online Dictionary as “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in representing facts.” However since this cannot be done, as we all have our biases and perceptions, a journalist in his pursuit of professionalism must be present a balanced and fair presentation of the news.
To be fair as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is to be “consonant with merit and importance.” This means that one must show consistency in his or her presentation of work. Former Curator of The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Bill Kovach defines of fairness in journalism as “… more than objectivity. It includes honest and balanced judgments in reporting, writing, editing and presentation of news.” So in order to be seen as not being overly influenced or too subjective, journalists must look to present their work as being honest, stating the facts as they happened as well as balanced, i.e. showing as many sides of the story as possible. Journalists are human and as such have a “prism of perception” (Myrick, 2002) and their reporting is a “sum total of all of their prior experiences, socialization,…...

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