Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bronstein: Throw out objective journalism

Phil Bronstein says it's time to throw out the notion that journalists should be objective.

Bambi Francisco, formerly a MarketWatch columnist who now heads Vator.tv, interviewed several figures in journalism about objectivity during a conference at Stanford two weeks ago and posted this video.

William Randolph Hearst III, for instance, said objective journalism still exists, and emphasized that there's a distinction between facts and opinion. Andy Heyward, former head of CBS News, said he would hate to see a world where everything is an op-ed page and nobody is trying to do old-fashioned, objective reporting. Bronstein, who stepped down in January as editor of the Chronicle to become the editor-at-large for Hearst, told Francisco that objectivity is a concoction that has developed over the past few decades:
    "People have opinions, they have perspective and one of the things that creates expertise is your perspective ... "I think journalists shy away from speaking with authority and that they ought to speak with it. ... I think the whole notion of objectivity should be thrown out."
(Photo credits: Vator.tv screen grabs)

4 comments:

Jay said...

Having been a journalist in one sense or another for a half century now, I have not used the concept of objectivity for that entire time. I have used the standard of balance, fairness, telling both sides (or several sides) of a story. There are definite, teachable techniques for achieving those goals. But "objectivity" is an impossibility in a human being -- we are all bound by our perspectives, upbringing, culture and training. So Bronstein is right in that sense, as I understand his comments -- but why has it taken him so long to toss it out? ;-)>
Jay Thorwaldson

Anonymous said...

So what's new? The Chronicle threw out objectivity decades ago. Hence its precipitous circulation plunge. Fair-minded readers are fed up with the Chron's far-left slant and utter disdain for regular folks and their families.

james clifford said...

Objectivity? Ain't no such animal. I was with the wires for 40 years and saw at least attempts at objectivity die the death of a thousand cuts. What we are seeing in the industry is reporter assisted suicide. Any profession that was able to limit "choice" to one subject is getting what it deserved. It's not the only bully on the block now.
James O. Clifford

Anonymous said...

What's with the photo of Will Hearst...looks like the days of stooping down to pick up quarters as in those old Chronicle commercials is long past. Oooph.