Sunday, February 12, 2006

ASSIGNMENT: Read Zachary on the trouble with -- and the big lie -- of objectivity

At Poynter, Romanesko writes about:

Former Business 2.0 and Wall Street Journal staffer G. Pascal Zachary (now a journalism professor at Stanford University) says veteran journalists know that the objectivity ethos is the "big lie" of their profession. "Actually, journalists are beholden to various points of view, and their commitment to balance is a convenient way of not talking about the rat's nest of commitments, concerns, biases and passions that animate the life of every good journalist and most of the bad ones." He proposes a new creed for journalism "that carries forward what's consistent with the uncertain waves of the Internet while affirming what journalism has always stood for."

(Zachary piece is at:, and also at:

More comment on this from from:
February 10, 2006

This is an excerpt of a post by Dan Gillmor at his blog. Gillmor in turn is commenting on a post by Gregg Zachary entitled, "A Journalism Manifesto" (link below). Writes Gillmor:

"Professional journalists can restore their status only by taking radical action. They are getting torn to pieces fighting the wrong battles. Journalists keep telling critics that they are committed to hearing all sides. That they are committed to "objectivity," which in practical terms means giving ink and airtime to various viewpoints in a fair and even detached way. This so-called balance is supposed to translate into the all-important objectivity. I tend to agree with this, as I noted in a posting last year called "The End of Objectivity". but Zachary's call to arms is even more pointed than mine."


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