“What is the place of opinion in journalism, and can a journalist have his
or her own opinions, yet practice good journalism?”
A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. An estimation of the quality or worth of someone or something.“I’m writing to voice my opinion on an issue of great importance”
synonyms: belief, judgment, thought(s), (way of) thinking, mind, (point of) view,viewpoint, outlook, attitude, stance, position, perspective, persuasion,standpoint; Definition courtesy of Oxford
There’s a place for opinions in journalism because…
-It expresses an outlook that some may not have considered
-It humanizes others (who may not have been humanized initially)
-It shows the voice of the author
-It’s fun to have opinion columns so readers can either relate or expand their horizons
However, opinions can be dangerous because…
-It limits objectivity, which is crucial for good journalists
-Its primary focus isn’t accuracy
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.
I believe that a good journalist can have his or her own opinions and effectively produce worthy pieces. If the piece is meant to be an opinion article, then that’s already in the bag.
Now, if the piece is meant to be objective, then 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 based on concrete knowledge and facts with the intent to educate or inform.