If ‘Objectivity’ Is Impossible To Achieve, What Hope Is There For The Journalist Who Wants To Be And Be Seen As Professional?

1067 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

We are brought up in society and as such must learn the norms and values so that we can assimilate into this institution. Therefore a journalist will have his or her beliefs about several subjects and objectivity by the journalist is impeded by these ingrained qualities and this is shown in his/her work. To be seen as professional, a journalist must state where his or her biases lie. This gives the reader a clear sense of the angle from which a journalist is reporting and enables the reader to make a conscientious analysis of the journalistic piece.
Journalists also work in a business. Therefore they must ensure that their pieces whether for print or broadcast journalism must also fit the criteria for news as well generate income to keep the businesses afloat. Myrick in citing Donald Scuhlson notes "Objectivity is a peculiar demand to make of institutions which, as businesses ... are dedicated first of all to economic survival.” (Myrick, 2002). The journalist must therefore look to ensure that even though his/her work is income generating, that it does not appear to be subjective or hold particular bias to a certain ideology. By applying the principles of fairness and balance, the journalist can present a piece which gives several views of a story and as such appeal to a wider audience which aids in their economic survival.
Journalists can be seen as being professional in their presentation by speaking for those whose voices need to be heard. In a speech to colleagues, former Curator of The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, Bill Kovach states “Fairness means that journalists should use their skills to give a voice to those who are limited in their ability to speak for themselves, whether poor or rich, powerful or weak, famous or unknown.” (Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard , 2001) This means that even though a journalist may have biases, he/she is able to present pieces that are able to highlight issues to their audience for those who are unable too. Examples of this are the recent victims of Tropical Depression 16 in Jamaica or the Pope on his recent visit to the United Kingdom addressing the issues of the sex scandal and rise of secularism in the West.

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