Snapshot of Final Paper: The Topic of Objectivity

Originally, I had wanted to research the current state of social media guidelines, but decided to change course and expand on a topic that I had recently posted about – objectivity.

Last week, I wrote an entry on the matter of objectivity. I questioned if it was possible to be completely objective in journalism? Besides linking to this article from The Guardian on “Does journalism still require impartiality?” I had explored a piece from Retraction Watch entitled “NYT journalist: I am not a neutral observer-can I still be a fair reporter?” It was about Tracy Tullis. She had written a story for The New York Times about an elephant and had also previously signed an online petition supporting sending the elephant to a sanctuary.

What I found interesting is that in the manual presented to her by The New York Times had no mention of online petitions and appeals. I was especially curious because nowadays there are so many online petitions, charities and fundraisers where a person might sign their name without even thinking twice. How is it a problem if a journalist signed a petition to save lions and then covered Cecil the Lion? So long as it was filtered through editors and remained factual, and on point without presenting itself as a personal agenda – what’s the harm? It is so difficult to hide our beliefs and opinions nowadays, it’s not impossible but it can be difficult.

I want to explore the topic of objectivity and impartiality further, possibly reaching out to Tracy Tullis or finding other situations involving online petitions, charities, fundraisers, etc. I want to see how news organizations have changed these guidelines, or if they have.

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One thought on “Snapshot of Final Paper: The Topic of Objectivity

  1. Social media ethics guidelines is a good topic, Kareya, but you’ll need to focus it. One possibility: You might examine the social media ethics guidelines for a news organization you rely on it, and propose revisions from your perspective of a consumer of the media that organization produces. Ideally, you’d get a draft together early enough that you could get some feedback from someone at the news organization.

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