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Can a Journalist Be Objective?

Photo by: Courtesy of: Project Smart

Story By: Gage Carmichael, Reporter

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“But Gage, aren’t you a journalist yourself?” Yes, I am.

So, why wouldn’t I defend the integrity of myself, my colleagues and the profession I hope to work in? Because I do not think one should “lie to protect the integrity of their organization.”

I do not think a journalist can be totally objective. Objectivity is an ideal to strive for, but an impossible standard to live up to.

The journalist’s job is to research the story and find the truth, and part of the job is accurately portraying that information without bias.

We are all human, with our own motives, ideas and flaws. It would be impossible to eliminate those characteristics from ourselves. Still, journalists should strive to put those characteristics aside to give an objective narrative to the news.

I think I do a pretty good job at corralling my emotions and focusing on the facts. But is it really all that horrible when news gets subjective? Right now, you’re reading a story in which a journalist is conveying their opinion of something.

Maybe this story will give you better insight on objectivism vs subjectivism, maybe it doesn’t.
What I know for certain is that if you’ve made it this far you must think what I’m writing is sort of interesting.

News is informative, but isn’t it also supposed to be interesting?

If we look at breaking news and analyze what makes a breaking news story we would discover that breaking news develops because of how many news values are attached to the story. News value defines how a journalist categorizes a story. These news values compile together to show how relevant a story is going to be.

But what makes good news value? It’s up to the reporters and the editorial board. Those determinations, those choices, are ultimately subjective decisions.

Therefore, journalists must be subjective in order to effectively relay the story to their audience.

We think of news value as the most topical news, we think of proximity and timing. But a news value that no one thinks of is the unique perspective that every writer brings to a piece. Their beliefs, their prejudices, their past, and their present.

Leaning too much on these ideas could lead journalists to crafting news stories that have more in common with fiction than reality.

But that’s where trust and judgement come in.

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About the Writer
Gage Carmichael, Reporter

May third 1996 Fresno California: the day life began, at least for Gage Carmichael. He had a humble upbringing growing up in a single household with only his father. No matter what struggles went on his father’s life, Gage had no clue.

Gage had a childhood filled with Star Wars and music, and to him that was all he really needed. Fast forward a few years, he is now 22-years-old and enrolled at Fresno City College.

As a first generation college student, school was not easily digested. He went from Reedley to Clovis Community and now to here trying to figure his future out. He started off as an engineering major being well aware of his dislike for numbers. His courses were filled up by the humanities which should have been his first clue, but Gage was insistent he could go through with engineering.

It was not until his first communications class that he realized his passion and full potential. He felt communications made sense to him, and his dad’s voice in his head reminded him “it is not work if you love it.” Gage is now pursing his degree in mass communications for public relations.

Aside from school, Gage has kept his interests in music and Star Wars; however, his tastes have grown. He enjoys traveling in search of good music and coffee. Enjoys shopping and keeping up with trends. The most impactful things in his life are his indulgences for photography, reading, and writing.

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