Objectivity in Journalism

What is objectivity in journalism? What does it do?

Host: Nate Stevens

As practiced:
—Gives credence to people who deny facts or assert factual inaccuracies

—Generates distrust in media

What should it be?

—“I want to change the world” is not objective

—Does wanting to have impact make you not objective?

— Fairness and accuracy are the standards

—Objectivity is a product of historical market forces

Who’s in the newsroom affects what is considered objective

—“Objectivity” as concept that reinforces white supremacy-African American journalists have challenged that

— Selections of the facts – framing– context are subjective choices that have major impact

— “”Black reporters cannot be objective about black lives matter”

— Straight CIS white dudes have not lived lives of others– Are not neutral

What can objectivity mean? What should it mean?


Stenography of bullshit

Middle of the road

Two sides to the issue

In reality clouded by subjectivity

A baseball bat for control especially among political partisans


Fact checking


The Universal process to vet stories

Find out the facts of what happened to inform community response

Multiple sources

Pay attention to words and their meaning to other people

Example issue: undocumented immigration

Fact: undocumented immigration generates a net economic benefit

Part of the story is the ”build a wall people”– but giving them equal coverage creates false equivalency >> Proportionality

Representation of community

Representation of people by issue

Diversity of perspectives– opinions– the experiences

Editor as well as reporters

Spanish language programming– Spanish-speaking reporters—“Complicate the issue”

Participatory media project requires safety, time but who is the audience?

System at hand: the newsroom >> goals and strategies

Who is our audience now?

Who do we speak to?

What do we want to present to them?

“Mission to enlighten an advanced conversation”– huh?

Impact is not objectivity

About Nathan Stevens

Words @PopMatters, editor @SpectrumCulture, radio dude @KWVA, occasional robot
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