The end of objectivity?

With mainstream journalists closing the gap between themselves and the large corporations, it is important to question the reliability of today’s mainstream media.

As Professor Jeff Cohen mentions in his article, “Snowden Coverage: If U.S. Mass Media Were State-Controlled, Would They Look Any Different?” media employees have grown closer to their sources particularly large corporations and conglomerates. I cannot help but wonder if this relationship weakens the accuracy and reliability of reporting.

Aside from the fact that journalists are working to establish a “cozy” relationship with their sources, it brings to light the ethics of true journalism in today’s society. Throughout our time as both students and professional journalists, we are always taught to be objective, neutral and unbiased in our reporting. But what does objectivity mean from a general standpoint?

I mean, objectivity holds a very subjective definition; for, it can be defined in many ways from a variety of lenses and perspectives because it is virtually impossible for any one journalist to truly stay objective.

I believe everyone, whether a journalist or not, has some type of opinion toward certain issues and topics. As a result, I think it is fair to suggest that objectivity is merely trying to show both sides of a story rather than staying completely objective. I feel that with each individual’s personal experiences, there cannot be true objectivity. Everyone has been – or is – influenced by someone or something each and every day. That in itself is what encompasses our identity and brings about personal biases. Objectivity, or what once allowed readers to trust the reporting of newspapers and journalists, has now been transformed by the new age of media.

As stated in Joho: the Blog, transparency is the new objectivity. And in the transformative journalism industry, transparency is what really allows readers to rely on journalism. Back in the old era of journalism where newspapers thrived and reporters wrote interviews on pen and paper, actual people became the higher authority experts on a topic. Now, with the Internet and the digital age, newspapers are dying and reporters are recording their interviews. Digital technologies highlight the importance of hyperlinks, which allow for readers to collect information from a variety of higher authority “experts.”

The Internet helps readers facilitate their own thoughts, opinions and perspectives on an issue because they are able to gather information, arguments and ideas from numerous sources on the web rather than hear from one authoritative source, which allows for more biases.

It is hard to tell whether the age of hyperlinks will positively or negatively influence the journalism industry; however, what I do know is that the Internet brings about new definitions of objectivity.

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