to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow
Objectivity and Bias.
I have a strong belief that when writing a hard news story or a feature story it should be written objectively. That means getting interviews from both sides, secondary research that supports both sides, and not inserting your opinion.
News articles should not address the reader. There should never be an "I" or a "you" or "US" or "WE." Every sentence should be attributed and justified using sources.
At the end of the article the reader should not be able to tell from the article what stance the reporter has on the issue. And I think that is a big deal. I love reading an article and wondering at the end, "Which side does he/she support?"
With hard news stories there shouldn't be a need to insert an opinion. Just report the facts. If you really want your opinion in there then interview someone (a CREDIBLE source) that you know will supply a quote that will say what you wish you could say, but then make sure to get a quote of opposition. You can also do secondary research and cite a source that shows your opinion.
When it's straight hard news it shouldn't be an issue. Let's say there was a car crash, you really don't need to say, "Oh my gosh that driver was SOOoO stupid." No, you don't need to even say an opinion. Just write the who what where when, get quotes if you can from the sources there, interview the police at the scene. If you don't feel like you have enough you can always do a follow up story and elude to that at the end of the article.
If it's a controversial hard news story, say a gay-marriage protest. Interview the protesters, but make sure to interview those that oppose the protest. Interview as many people as you can so you get a variety of quotes and then pick which ones best support the article; this goes for any story written.
Features may make it harder to show your objectivity, but it still should be done. There's more room in Features (800 words or more), and since they are IN-DEPTH stories they take longer than a few days to do. That means you definitely have enough time to get interviews from both sides of the story.
I think that the future of journalism will rely on objectivity within the hard news, and it needs to. I think it is much easier to be objective through print and web reporting, because no one can see your face. Your tone of voice is not heard.
I think that the future of journalism will allow journalists to show opinions within BLOGS. My thoughts on blogging has completely changed since 6 months ago. But I do believe that opinions should be left in blogs, columns, and editorials. I will include reviews in that, but i am a bit iffy.
Now, news sources in the media have gained reputations for being "bias" to the right or left, but even so - that doesn't mean that it's okay to show that within reporting the news.
I am focusing more on print/web journalism within this post, because that is what I am passionate for. I will write more about broadcast journalism later on, because I do have experience with that. I worked at a television station and was in a radio news reporting course. I own the stylebook for broadcast, and the college I attend has a radio station that is listened to throughout the region. (It's an alternative rock station, I love that).
I have finally allowed myself to "let loose" and show some of my opinion. I have strong opinions, but as a journalist I try to hide it and stay objective. As a blogger, I am allowing myself little by little. I will definitely NOT let that slip into my writing.
The future of journalism is going to rely on drawing a line between BLOGS and ARTICLES. Blogs can be personal, blogs don't need to be objective, but there are rules for blogging that coincide with those of a journalist.
I don't know whether to focus on credible sources, credibility, or more so bias.
This one was definitely more about objectivity, but I will go more in-depth to bias later.
I did a 20+ page paper for my English Composition class on the conservative bias of Fox News. I did that paper extremely objectively, but then allowed my opinions to show because the professor asked us to have our opinions in it. I researched my tail off. I WATCHED Fox News, I read transcripts, I read and examined articles, I compared the headlines of Fox News to the headlines of other news sources.
I compared side by side a story written/broadcasted/covered by Fox News vs. the same story covered by another station.
I gained lots of insight.
I really dislike sensationalism.
That website has me focusing on the guilty pleasure celebrity news blogging.
This blog is my serious journalist blog, BUT I will post links and posts I do for that site so that I will be able to show what I wrote for the other blog, but this blog is dedicated and will remain dedicated to the future of journalism.
I am into serious journalism, and I think that I have shown that
But I was given an amazing opportunity to blog and to get a lot more people to read my work, and I think that if people read the "juicy celebrity gossip," then maybe they will go to "nikkyraney.com" to see what else I have written -- and they will see that even though I am a celebrity blogger - I am also a serious journalist.
I want to be able to do both.
And I want to still be thought of as a credible, trustworthy, serious journalist.
My favorite news to cover includes politics, crime, etc. but I am not able to get the interviews at the time, but I can aggregate links to other news sources within the blog posts I write for Zennie62.com. It is a way for me to basically "relax" and not feel as much pressure.
I take Zennie62.com seriously, though.
I try to never be directly critical, and when I do state an opinion I show a link/article that supports my opinion.
So, that's what I have to say about Objectivity and bias for now.
I will be posting my "WORD OF THE WEEK" in a few hours.(I work on each blog entry for at least half an hour, but usually longer).
Oh my favorite moment of the week is trading direct messages back and forth with Steve Tuttle from Newsweek (via Twitter). He read the blog entry I wrote about Newsweek and he liked it.
I am surprised that my twitter got so popular. I love following, but I never expected that I would be followed. My numbers have been going up day by day. I don't ask for followers and I hate the spam "GET MORE FOLLOWERS" crap.
But, here's my twitter.
I post a lot of re-tweeting to news articles.
I post a LOT of news articles.
I post a lot of sarcastic/funny posts.
And I am highly critical of Tila Tequila, but I'll do an entire thing on her later.
I will be doing a blog entry on "CELEBRITY GOSSIP BLOGS" and the good, the bad, and the tila tequila. Don't get me started.
Thanks for all the support.
To comment, contact, suggest, etc. please e-mail me :)
If you want to be a blogger for Zennie62.com e-mail me!
(p.s. I refuse to link to Fox News, because I am BIAS.)
(p.p.s) John Draper is helping to re-design the layout of my blog. EXCITING.
The mainstream media has its own agenda. They do not want to print the facts. They have an agenda, they have a slant, they have a bias. It is outrageous to me. --Curt Weldon
It is outrageous to me too. I'll fix it, promise. And yes, I did quote a Republican politician.
Posted in | at 3:27 PM
I would just like it to be known that although I am being critical, I always try to stay as objective as possible. I would like to keep my credibility as a journalist and blogger, so let it be known I always cite the source that I obtained my information from & will make sure to let it be known when it's my opinion...." "I am not involved at all with the casting but checked with VH1and apparently production for CR4 is on track... rumors inaccurate." -- DR. DREW
I would just like it to be known that although I am being critical, I always try to stay as objective as possible. I would like to keep my credibility as a journalist and blogger, so let it be known I always cite the source that I obtained my information from & will make sure to let it be known when it's my opinion...."
"I am not involved at all with the casting but checked with VH1and apparently production for CR4 is on track... rumors inaccurate." -- DR. DREW
The word of the week is PRIVACY.
(note: all links I include are the most recent links I can find meaning within the past day or so)
It has been a rough week for Facebook, and an even more troubling week for Facebook users. The privacy issues regarding Facebook have gotten so extreme that it made the cover of Time Magazine.
I am torn between feeling anger toward Facebook, or feeling critical of users like me. If Facebook users don't want private information getting out into the internet, then why are we all posting this information on Facebook in the first place?
These privacy issues are so extreme that May 31, 2010 has been dubbed as "Quit Facebook Day" by QuitFacebookDay.com. According to the site there are already over 10 thousand users signed up to quit. The site compares quitting Facebook to quitting smoking:
"Quitting Facebook isn't easy. Facebook is engaging, enjoyable and quite frankly, addictive. Quitting something like Facebook is like quitting smoking. It's hard to stay on the wagon long enough to actually change your habits. Having peer support helps, but the way to quit Facebook is not to start a group on Facebook about leaving Facebook."
Are the Facebook Quitters taking this way too seriously, or are the rest of us not taking it seriously enough?
The Wall Street Journal recently posted and article which confronted Facebook,Myspace, Livejournal, and other social-networking sites for "sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers' names and other personal details."
WSJ interviews and posts quotes from a "Facebook spokesman." That really doesn't show much credibility, because we don't exactly know WHO this Facebook spokesman is. I will do a blog entry on credible sources & the use of anonymous sources in the near future. I would personally like to know WHO this "Facebook spokesman" is, and why doesn't he want his name to be attached to the quotes he is providing? There are numerous reasons why a source may want anonymity, but the only reasons that I feel are legitimate are if the quotes/information provided could cause the person to lose a job or put the person in danger. Why does WSJ trust this "Facebook spokesman." Why wasn't someone from Facebook who would agree to go on record and have his or her name printed alongside the quote chosen? Anyway, I seem to be getting off track. Although, that does count as PRIVACY. The Facebook spokesman desired the need for PRIVACY, and WSJ allowed him (or HER) to obtain this privacy, which is funny since the interview seems to focus on the LACK OF PRIVACY given to the users. Irony, the Facebook spokespeople desire privacy:
" '"We were recently made aware of one case where if a user takes a specific route on the site, advertisers may see that they clicked on their own profile and then clicked on an ad,' the Facebook spokesman said. 'We fixed this case as soon as we heard about it.' "
Mashable has always been one of my favorites (I even have given Mashable.com its own bookmark on my Safari Bookmarks Bar). Mashable writers have been consistently updating the site with the latest news regarding Facebook privacy. They reasonably posted a survey asking, "Are You Planning on Quitting Facebook? Why?" Since I last checked the poll the majority voted "I like Facebook. I'm staying."
ReclaimPrivacy.org states that their mission is to "promote privacy awareness on Facebook and elsewhere." The site provides a tool that may be used to scan your Facebook privacy settings.
Macworld.com promotes Reclaimprivacy.org, and advocates that the site is credible. Philip Michaels, Macworld.com's executive editor, tested the site on his own Facebook and reassures that Reclaimprivacy.org can be trusted:
"There’s one thing about the ReclaimPrivacy.org tool that struck me as curious: When I scanned my Facebook settings in Firefox, I got the all clear on everything—even the categories still flagged with a yellow Caution label in Safari. My takeaway message? As helpful as the ReclaimPrivacy.org tool is—and it is very helpful—it’s not a silver bullet for every privacy concern you’ll have on Facebook. The best weapon you have is still your own common sense—though a little clarity from Facebook itself would be welcome, too."
I would like to point out that the best point made in the quote above is "The best weapon you have is still your own common sense." Thank you so much for saying this. (I don't know if Philip Michaels will ever read this, but if he does I want to thank him. And I would also like to say that I am in love with my 13" Macbook Pro!)
For those of you who have read my previous post regarding Facebook, and my own personal experiences with Facebook you may be questioning my own common sense. Since I sent the Facebook officials my government issue ID and proof of residency. I trust that, because I sent it to Facebook through an e-mail. I did not post it publicly onto Facebook. I think that the biggest concern is that the information posted on people's Facebook is getting out to the public, whereas I personally trust that the e-mail exchanges between Facebook officials and myself will stay private.
An article on Telegraph.co.uk includes a quote from Mark Zuckerberg from his interview with Time Magazine:
" 'The way that people think about privacy is changing a bit. What people want isn’t complete privacy. It isn’t that they want secrecy. It’s that they want control over what they share and what they don't.Our core belief is that one of the most transformational things in this generation is that there will be more information available.... Even with all the progress that we've made, I think we're much closer to the beginning than the end of the trend.' "
I think that the big issue is Facebook users have maybe trusted Facebook a little too much, and shared more than they would have liked to via their Facebook profiles. The advice I can give is this (for people who would like advice for making their Facebook information more private, I have been helping my mother with her Facebook).
Make an e-mail address strictly for Facebook. Go to your Account Settings, and edit your information. You will first add an e-mail address to the one you already use for Facebook. Then once you have confirmed that e-mail address via e-mail you can delete the e-mail address you previously used to log onto your Facebook account and have the new "strictly Facebook" e-mail address as the only e-mail address used for Facebook. This way if any advertisers do somehow obtain your e-mail address, they do not have your PERSONAL e-mail address, only the address that you use to log onto your Facebook account.
Only add people on Facebook that you trust, or create different "lists" or "groups" which customize which friends can see what, etc.
Edit your application's privacy by going to your privacy settings.
The thing about Facebook Privacy is that usually the new features are enabled automatically for everyone's Facebook, and we all need to go in and manually disable the features that allow applications to obtain information, etc.
Don't post things that you don't want people to see, and if you already have -- go through your Facebook profile and delete the things that you don't want posted.
I think the bigger issue is people that are adding their professional acquaintances to Facebook and then posting drunk photos & compromising status updates.
I have personally deleted most of my youtube videos (I had about 45 at one point), and I have tried to delete all the things that I posted back when I was in middle school & high school (including my old blog that I had during high school which I used more as my public diary and less as a blog). There are still traces of me on the internet that I cannot get rid of due to forgetting of passwords and things that I posted elsewhere or that someone else has posted of me, but I think that I am young enough to be able to redeem myself and keep myself in good shape in regards to The Future of Journalism.
So, I think the big lesson here is: Yes, Facebook has done some things that are wrong and have broken the trust with some of its users, but Facebook users should think twice about posting things on the internet that are private in the first place. If you are posting something on the internet that you only want specific people to know, give those people a phone call, tell them in person, send an e-mail, etc. Facebook, Twitter, etc. aren't the only ways to communicate.
This entire issue is worldwide, and I feel like by only posting the articles via USA & UK news sources that I am leaving out the fact that Facebook users are WORLD WIDE, and this privacy issue is affecting all of the users. I was born in the Philippines, raised in America with my Filipino mom and American dad, and I like to pride myself on keeping up with all international news, so I feel obligated to include links to other news sources outside of the US that involve Facebook Privacy. All links are directed to the Facebook Privacy articles both in the US and outside the US. Basically, here is a list of other articles about Facebook Privacy that I didn't talk about in my blog entry:
Privacy. That's the word of the week.
Tune in next Saturday to see the next Word of the Week.
(That is, if there is another word that can outdo the popularity of the word "privacy" for next week, or will we still be dealing with Facebook privacy issues…)
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or concerns e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For Twitter updates, I have recently made my twitter account public.
"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people - and that social norm is just something that has evolved over time." --Mark Zuckerberg