Is objectivity a myth?

The biggest accustation that continues to plague journalism is biased news coverage.

News consumers clamor for neutral reporting without biased interference. However, this is much easier said than done. Both readers and journalists have inherent biases and opinions.

As a result, it’s nearly impossible to remain neutral when covering a story. Yet, journalism professors continue to preach the value of “objectivity.”

The problem readers fail to recognize is that news itself is hardly objective. Let’s look at the recent Boston bombing attacks for example. In order to objectively cover the story, reporters are not aloud to show any favoritism or choose a side. 

However, it’s impossible not to let emotions get in the way. As American citizens themselves, journalists are devastated by the attacks and feel the need to victimize those responsible. Instead of taking the angle that the terrorists were innocent until proven guilty, journalists sympathized with America and their stories clearly reflected whose side they were on. 

It may sound like an extreme example, but it clearly shows how difficult it can be to leave emotions and opinions out a story. 

Regardless, objectivity is still a standard that journalists should strive for. This is especially true in political reporting– with many news organizations aligning their coverage with a particular political party.

While at times it may seem impossible, journalists should continue to stick to the facts and let audiences determine their own interpretation of a story.

http://blogs.spjnetwork.org/ethics/

 

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Media report card in Boston

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Now that the suspects of the Boston attacks have been identified, it is now fair to to grade the media on the quality of their coverage. 

Many journalism institutions and social media sites such as the New York Post and Reddit received a lot of criticism last week for publishing false reports. 

The New York Post published a cover photo of two men carrying bags and identified them as potential suspects. Identifying them as “BAG MEN,” the two reported suspects ended up being innocent and had no involvement in the attacks. 

Reddit users compiled a spreadsheet of potential suspects that led to the rumor of missing student Sunil Tripathi as one of the Boston bombers. Tripathi’s family could only stand by and watch as the Internet exploded with false accusations that put their family in danger. 

Before we even begin our sequence area at MU, the first thing we learn as aspiring journalists is to double check our sources and only report factual, verified information. However, coverage of the Boston attacks is filled with inaccuracies that are a result of re-circulating mis-information and jumping to conclusions.

With the growth of social media sites such as Twitter and Reddit, media institutions now have competition to be the first to report the news. However, journalists are forgetting that their responsibility is to report the truth. It’s our jobs to sort through the mis-information on these sites and discover the what really happened.

Unfortunately, many media institutions in Boston had to learn this lesson the hard way. Although it’s nice to be the first to publish a story, it means nothing if the information reported is false or unverified.

http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0oGdWVCAHRRrhkAao1XNyoA?p=did%20media%20cover%20boston&fr2=sb-top&fr=yfp-t-670

Slackers to host Record Store Day

Columbia’s downtown record store Slackers is preparing for their biggest event of the year.

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Slackers will hold their annual Record Store Day on Saturday, April 20, 2013, in Columbia, Mo.

Vinyl’s resurgent popularity has prompted Record Store Day into the national spotlight. It is a nationwide event held exclusively by independent record stores.

“There are record exclusives that are put out just for that day,” Slackers manager Kate Passis said.

With limited edition pressings and limited quantities of records available, vinyl enthusiasts are encouraged to arrive early and secure their spot in line.

In addition to record sales, Slackers will also host live music and serve food from SubZone throughout the day.

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Expanding high school curriculums

Throughout elementary and high school, students are forced to take classes in mathematics, science, history, English, and art. 

Supposedly, these curriculums are designed to ensure students receive a well-balanced education and give them the information they need to determine their future career paths. However, the curriculum seems to suggest the only available jobs in the world are math teachers, engineers, scientists, doctors, historians, English teachers and artists.

I attended a small school in Thayer, Mo., with barely 200 students in the entire high school and 55 in my graduating class. Growing up, I always had a problem with my school’s course offerings. It was always the same subjects every year.

To be honest, I didn’t know I wanted to be a journalist until my senior year of high school. My entire high school career was plagued with indecisiveness as I changed my future career plans every six months.

While it would be easy to say nobody truly knows what they want to do until they get to college, I believe this fallacy is used to defend limited high school curriculums. My school never offered a single journalism class from kindergarten throughout my senior year. If you didn’t like math or science, you were in for a long ride. 

If my high school would have offered journalism classes, I could have discovered my future career much sooner. I’m sure this is the case with many other small schools as well.

Less covered fields such as journalism, accounting, economics and business need to be taken more seriously by high schools. Courses need to be offered in these subjects to allow students the opportunity to explore fields outside science and mathematics. 

Sadly, a school’s decision to restrict course offerings isn’t helping students become more well-rounded. It’s only limiting their learning capacity and restricting their career search to a certain number of fields. 

 

AP prohibits use of the term “illegal immigrant”

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Last week, the Associated Press abolished the terms “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” from their vocabulary.

The stylebook change is a monumental victory for civil rights advocates who fight to protect the rights of American citizens.

Here, the only difference is we’re not talking about American citizens. We’re talking about immigrants that sneak across the border into our country and steal jobs from both American citizens and immigrants who enter our country legally.

Maybe I’m being overly insensitive, but I don’t think we should worry if the term “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” offends these criminals. Why should they deserve our sympathy?

I believe the AP’s style change only reinforces the soft stance the Obama Administration has taken toward illegal immigration in the U.S. Months after Obama announced his intention to stop deporting selected illegal immigrants under the DREAM Act, now journalists are no longer allowed to identify them by the true status of their residency.

During a time when our country should be taking a stricter approach to illegal immigration, the Associated Press is only making matters worse. While I understand trying to eliminate offensive language from journalists’ vocabularies, I disagree with the decision when it compromises an issue that is extremely vital to both national security and the American labor force.

Not to mention, it’s a commonly held belief that the media tends to be liberally biased. After the mandatory stylebook change, that belief is only strengthened with the world’s largest news organization supporting Obama’s attempt to de-sensitize Americans to the severity and danger of illegal immigration in the U.S.

http://blogs.spjnetwork.org/president/2013/04/03/on-aps-illegal-immigration-style-change/