The Objectivity Myth

One of the most important things you’ll hear from almost any journalism course is that your writing needs to be objective.

On the surface, this seems simple. Unbiased, just reporting the facts, trying to make sure your story is well-rounded and has supporting evidence and sources from all sides. That’s realistic, right?

Well, it tends to be more complicated than that. Objectivity is a farce when human beings are concerned. We all have biases. We all tend to lean one side or the other. We all inherently have ideas about whatever you’re writing about. We’re human and we have opinions. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, it just needs to be embraced and not painted under the ruse of trying to be “objective.”

Especially in our day and age, transparency has become the new objectivity. With links, sources, and research there’s no need to be objective. There’s a need to have your thoughts supported. An audience can often see straight through a journalist attempting to be “objective,” when in reality, they are simply veiling their own thoughts in an attempt to please their supervisor. It’s easier and more reliable for journalists to state their biases and their opinions and continue on by supporting their thoughts with research, acknowledging this is how they feel about a specific topic.

With more educated and skeptical readers that are turning to independent media for content, transparent journalists humanize themselves and tell stories in a way readers can connect with and understand. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your best to explore all aspects of a story, even if you don’t agree with it, but to remember to stand up for what you believe in, abide to your own ethical code, and place your biases where everyone can see them.

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