TITLE

Why Objectivity Still Matters

AUTHOR(S)
Berry, Stephen J.
PUB. DATE
June 2005
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p15
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article defends objectivity as a worthy journalistic standard against threats it faces from journalists who reject its applicability. So what is this shackle that roils our profession decade after decade and now seems to have reporters cowering in fear and passivity? Objectivity is a standard that requires journalists to try to put aside emotions and prejudices, including those implanted by the spinners and manipulators who meet them at every turn, as they gather and present the facts. They recognize objectivity as an ideal, the pursuit of which never ends and never totally succeeds. Walter Lippmann, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and the intellectual guru of journalistic objectivity in the 192Os, viewed it as a discipline inculcating scientific principles that can guide one to victories over superstitions of the mind. In investigative reporting, as in no other genre, is the effort to devise strategies and methods to deal with personal biases and external manipulation more crucial. The variety of strategies is infinite, depending on the demands of each inquiry and the creativity of the journalists. For example, they devise interview techniques to gain information, to help unspin the spin, and to determine whether sources know what they are talking about.
ACCESSION #
17525955

 

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