Objectivity Vs. Transparency

Let me begin by making my opinion known – I don’t think a journalist can ever be 100 percent objective when they are reporting on an issue, they can be balanced and they can be transparent, but they cannot be completely objective. (<– Oh look an example of transparency)

As a journalism student I have had it drilled into my head a thousand times over that a good journalist must write objectively. The problem with this is that people have opinions and journalists as people (I know, weird right?) are going to have a certain perspective on whatever they’re reporting on. That’s not to say they can’t craft a balanced story, but presenting all of the arguments in a story is not going to make the article objective. It makes it balanced. I believe that if a story is balanced and the journalist is transparent with their opinions about the issue they are reporting on then their work is acceptable. It’s not realistic to believe in the traditional echo of objectivity in an age where information is so readily accessible.

According to this article, “transparency is the new objectivity” within journalism. This blogger, suggests that with the rise of the Internet and the usage of links to support different claims that the media’s transparency is becoming more important than their objectivity.

David Carr (a fantastic journalist) wrote an article where he argues that the line between a journalist and an activist is blurred. He makes the point that this blurring is acceptable as long as the journalist is transparent, that they make it crystal clear where they stand with the issue they are reporting on.Carr makes the point that as long as the reporting is working to reveal the truth and as long as the truth is brought to light the reporter’s ideology is not as important.

“Journalists are responsible for following the truth wherever it may guide them. Both Ms. Gibson and Mr. Greenwald said that they would quickly follow the Snowden story even if it led to something that questioned his motives or diminished his credibility. But I do think that activism — which is admittedly accompanied by the kind of determination that can prompt discovery — can also impair vision. If an agenda is in play and momentum is at work, cracks may go unexplored.” So what really should be asked here is: can the journalistic activists report the truth even if it negatively impacts their cause?