Write a 500-word essay that addresses the following question:
“What is the relationship between journalism and objectivity?
In answering the
question, students should consider such things as what defines objectivity and why is it an
element of journalism, what is the place of opinion in journalism, and can a journalist have his
or her own opinions, yet practice good journalism.
The essay will be graded on the writer’s
thoughtfulness, soundness of his or her argument, as well as the quality of the writing.”
The ancient principle of yin and yang focuses on the philosophy that two opposites can coexist and thrive because of the relationship. Yin and yang emphasizes that two completely different concepts can complement each other, and where one lacks the other fills in the gaps to provide a perfect harmony. Interestingly, at the core of each concept is its opposite. This illustrates how two opposites, such as objectivity and opinions in journalism, can synergistically propel articles to a higher potential.
The difference between objective and opinion writing is the focused intent of the piece. Objective writing should be based on concrete knowledge and facts with the intent to educate or inform. Opinion writing seeks to persuade viewpoints with the intent to explain from a specific, and sometimes personal, perspective. A journalist can have his or her own opinions and effectively produce worthy pieces.
It’s important to have objectivity in journalism because it means that facts are represented without bias and it displays respect for all sides of the coin. When a journalist produces objective work, it shows the consumers that the journalist was researching to understand and not to confirm a preconceived opinion. As a journalist listens intently to his or her source, it demonstrates a value for the opinions of others. A profound lesson from Louis L’Amour taught: when you listen, you learn and then half your problems are over. Thoughtful journalists who listen and are respectful are less likely to offend other people and can earn more networking opportunities as a result.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, objectivity is described as, “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering or representing facts.” While opinions should not influence the representation of facts, opinions can drive questions and influence objectivity at its core. A journalist who asks questions can use that curiosity to shape the research to create a more insightful article. A journalist’s opinion can be helpful because that passion can lead to vivid writing. As long as the journalist can bridle his or her personal views, the writing can still be unbiased.
An editorial is a great example of when opinion writing is necessary. Editorials express outlooks that some consumers may not have considered. Opinion writing can bring the other-side of the coin to light by humanizing those who may not have been humanized initially. Often times, journalists will write opinion pieces on a topic of their editor’s choosing; which is a prime example of how an element of objectivity is at the core of opinions. The journalist is expected to produce an article that exemplifies the assigned topic, even if the opinion is different from his or her personal viewpoint. At the same time, opinions can be dangerous because the primary focus is not accuracy and it limits objectivity, which is crucial for journalists.
In the end, if yin were without yang the result would be discord. And similarly, if yin and yang are not balanced there is no harmony. Likewise, objectivity and opinions are both critical elements of journalism.