Critical issues 1 Objectivity 2012 - JMSC Courses

January 19, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Writing, Journalism
Share Embed Donate


Short Description

Download Critical issues 1 Objectivity 2012 - JMSC Courses...

Description

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Objectivity, truth, and credibility Critical issues in journalism and global communications Week 2

1

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations in 2003, showing evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Did the media report it objectively?

2

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Structure of presentation  

  

What is “truth” in journalism? Objectivity 1. Accuracy 2. Verification 3. Against bias 4. Comprehensiveness Criticisms of objectivity Alternatives to objectivity Questions for discussion

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

What is “truth”? 





“Everyone agrees that journalists must tell the truth, but people are befuddled by that the truth means.” Kovach and Rosenstiel Does truth exist? Postmodernists deconstruct and deny it Truth: differences in science, religion and journalism

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

When a scientist says something is true, what does he or she mean? 





Achieved through a process hypothesis formation; repeated observations; followed by theory building to account for observations. Scientific theories can be tested and verified. Two scientists performing the same experiment should achieve the same results. Would two journalists write the same story the same way? 5

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Scientific truth      

Four steps of scientific methods: 1. theory and hypothesis 2. empirical observations, experiments and calculations to test hypothesis 3. original hypothesis is either accepted or rejected 4. original theory could be modified Repeatibility: others can repeat experiment with the same results 6

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Religious truth 

  

Religious truth: Revealed to men and women in divine contacts and passed to generations in sacred traditions (texts and rituals) Usually cannot be tested or verified Must be accepted as a matter of faith Exceptions: meditative practices (e.g., in Buddhism) that can be seen as ‘technologies of mind’, or tests. 7

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Journalistic truth 



Largely based on reporting what sources have said: it is taken on belief that it is true, but should be verified. Sometimes based on what the reporter has seen and experienced first hand.

8

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

What is Truth? Three kinds of truth: Scientific truth Based on experiment and observations, which are tested repeatedly. Can and should be verified.

Journalistic truth

Based on what someone has said or seen. Sometimes cannot be verified.

Religious truth Belief and faith. Usually cannot be verified. 9

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Are eyewitness accounts the answer?  

 

Psychologists point out that seeing is not always believing. Confirmation bias: we tend to seek and recollect facts according to our pre-existing ideas. Information that runs counter to our ideas tends to be discounted. Eyewitness accounts often differ: e.g., Titanic survivors. 10

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Towards the journalistic method: “I made it a principle not to write down the first story that came down my way, and not even to be guided by my own general impressions; either I was present myself at the events which I have described, or else I heard of them from eyewitnesses whose reports I have checked with as much thoroughness as possible. Not that even so the truth was easy to discover: different eyewitnesses gave different accounts of the same events, speaking out of partiality for one side or the other, or else from imperfect memories.” The Greek historian Thucydides (5 BC) describing his method 11

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

1. Accuracy 





Accuracy: get your facts right Accuracy involves checking everything from the spelling of names and facts, to getting quotes accurately. A basic principle of journalism, but the one that is missed the most often due to time pressures, carelessness, or ignorance.

12

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

2. Verification 





Verify your facts. Are the statements and facts that you are reporting, both accurate and true? “In the end, the discipline of verification is what separates journalism from entertainment, propaganda, fiction or art.” Kovach and Rosenstiel

13

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Arriving at a reasonably reliable version of the truth takes time 



Arriving at a reasonably accurate account of any event is a process that could take several days, weeks or longer Verification as a process: - Initially, get the facts down accurately as stated by people - Next, verify these facts, if not the same day, the next day - If there are inconsistencies, keep checking and verifying and looking for new facts until you feel you a have a complete story 14

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

3. Against bias 

 



“We all have prejudices” – Milica Pesic, Director, Media Diversity Institute (London) Acknowledge your own preconceived notions Actively look for information that counters what you believe If after making an honest effort you cannot find such information, you can be a little bit more confident in your story 15

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

The importance of good editors 





Editors play an extremely important role in erifying and checking the integrity of a story: a reporter cannot do this alone. Editors should go through stories line by line checking facts as well as assertions. E.g., if a story reads “according to sources” editors should check. Who are the sources? How many are there? Is it just one? Are there enough sources? Editors can help remove the reporters unconscious biases

16

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Techniques to improve accuracy The San Jose Mercury News accuracy checklist: - Is the lead sufficient supported? - Has someone double checked names, titles, web addresses etc in a story? - Are all the stakeholders in a story identified, contacted and given a chance to comment? - Does the story pick sides and make subtle value judgements? - Are the quotes accurate and capture what the person wanted to say - Is anything missing? 

17

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

The importance of method 







Journalism needs to develop a set of objective, transparent techniques and methods for news reporting. Reporters should make clear where information comes from Feedback from sources: after a story is published, editors should consider checking with the subjects of the story what they think about it. This will also help reassure the public about the credibility of the press. 18

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

The importance of attitude 

  

Humility: reporters can only ever know a small part of the truth. They should be willing to acknowledge this. An awareness of his or her own biases. Intellectual honesty. Objective and transparent methods.

19

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Journalistic dishonesty 

The most common form of intellectual dishonesty : "journalists who select sources to express what is really their own point of view, and then use a neutral voice to make it seem objective are engaged in a form of deception."

20

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

4. Comprehensiveness 





Multi-sided coverage: are there enough sources? Are all important sources and stakeholders given voice and covered? Depth: is the context/history sufficiently covered? Is sufficient explanation provided to understand the story? (Out-of-context presentation can be easily biased.) Limitations: are limitations (on journalists access) recognized? (Case of WMD/Colin Powell)

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Main ideas re objectivity 



 

The crisis of credibility has arisen because readers do not believe what journalists tell them. Journalists need to produce truthful, accurate accounts of events. But this involves going beyond surface facts, and verifying facts. Can we make Thucydides our role model? Objectivity is best thought of as a method. 22

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

The meaning of objectivity in journalism 





The word objectivity is misused to indicate neutrality, or balance. In practice, this is not possible. What journalists need to do is use methods of information gathering and reporting that are objective and transparent (easily understandable by the public). Objectivity as an ideal 23

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Criticisms of objectivity 1.

2.

3.

‘Sources rulez’: journalists rely on the prominent and elite as their translators or mediators. Objectivity against independent thinking, creativity, imagination, critical perspectives. Objectivity just a technique by journalists=disinterested spectators. Journalists just report and not responsible for creating news. Objective journalists are amoral. 24

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Alternatives to objectivity 1.   

Investigative journalism (independent research, in-deep, long projects) Interpretive journalism (causal analysis) Partisan journalism 





In one-arty systems In competitive systems (Fox TV)

Advocacy journalism  

Setting new agendas Proposing solutions (shark finning) 25

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Alternatives to objectivity 2. 

Public journalism movement (US) 



Literary journalism 



Between literature and j; subjective

Gonzo journalism (Hunter Thompson) 



Local issues, bottom-up perspective

First person, ego-oriented, entertaining

Media pluralism and objectivity 



Multiple segments of national media systems Objective option may emerge from pluralist 26

Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong

Questions for the discussion in the sections  







Is objectivity possible? Can we reach it? Is objectivity is biased in favour of the status quo? What would we mean by this? Is objectivity biased against independent thinking? Do you agree with this? What alternative values for journalists can we propose? Do you want to be an objective journalist?

View more...

Comments

Copyright � 2017 NANOPDF Inc.
SUPPORT NANOPDF