Journalistic Objectivity

This op-ed article was written for the student newspaper at my high school. Published March 2019.

Objectivity is defined as the quality of not having judgment because of one’s personal views and opinions. In journalism, there is a code of ethics that all journalists are taught to follow in order to improve the news of the time and it’s perception by the people. However, as everything inevitably does journalism has changed.

Over the past few years, objectivity is being taught and enforced, but it becomes lost in the swarm of accusations of “Fake News” and the scarcity of impartial and unbiased news. The principle has become unattainable from the negative publicity of the term because of “fake news”.

The term is thrown out everyday, and it becomes difficult to distinguish what is actually fake and what is true and objective. This form of news is generally immoral, malicious, and intentionally harmful. It is especially harmful once the news becomes biased because the reader is unable to draw their own conclusions about an event or topic. Some readers can get caught up in news that favor their own opinion as well, and they would never see the other side that may be morally correct or a more convincing argument.

However, objectivity as an unattainable subject seems to have little opportunity for reform. To a news journalist, to be objective is one to the key components to the success of their career. They must write in a way that checks every view point’s boxes, while removing their own bias at the same time. Since there is such a vast variety of news companies, that some, if not most, express a sort of slanted view on the news. A view on politics is what is most popular and easy to distinguish because there is such a large bipartisan split in the country.

News stories, however, should consist only of the facts of an event. Predictions, opinions, and new ideas could be placed in an accompanying editorial, which is a piece written with the journalist’s perspective in mind.

The right of freedom of speech and the press have given the journalists the opportunity to write freely, whether or not it is for the benefit of the people. To write biased news stories for the purpose of the sharing information, closes off a person’s train of thought, and they are unable to draw their own conclusions. The ability to have an opinion is what builds a democracy.

Democracy is an important for a growing society of objective journalists in America. It generates security for the media outlets because they are creating objective news that is helpful to the community and changes the mind of those that believe in the controversy and the false facts and accusations. It is sometimes at the fault of the media outlet because if they want to appear as objective, but use a partisan point of view, they are expressing subjectivity that can hurt the reader.

Objectivity is the epitome of the news journalism world and without it, there is a world of biased news, ignorant people, and facts lost in the abyss. In the world of major news outlets, there are few that one would consider neutral. Associated Press (AP) is the most popular one out there, but every reader must look out for how the paper uses the article after they purchased it from AP to use in their paper and then write a response or complimentary article to go alongside it.

Any news article nowadays should really be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own opinions, and they should be allowed to express them as they feel. However, when it comes to news writing, there is a standard for objectivity that must be achieved, and it will only help our country for the better when there are articles in the world for people that are questioning their perspective on the topic.

Keeping objectivity in the news is important. At River Ridge, The Hawk Eye is fully committed to upholding this standard on all news pieces. The paper promotes an inviting environment and opens up for one to speak their mind.