Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Every Journalist Needs an Outlet

If you have ever picked up a newspaper, you know that one of the biggest, if not the biggest, issue in the media is how to remain unbiased. Everyone has their own opinions, and reporting on those topics without allowing your own bias to slip in is sometimes near impossible. What I have found, however, is that if journalists are allowed to have some sort of an outlet to speak their views, they will be able to report more objectively. For example, this past week, I went to a Republican watch party to cover some of the responses people had on the Presidential debate. While I was reporting, I found it hard not to spout off my own beliefs, but what kept me sane was knowing that after I finished, I would be able to call my brother and rant and rave all I wanted. I will not tell you to which side I lean in the election (if you can't already guess from my previous blogs), but I strongly believe from experience that journalists should be allowed to speak their mind every once in a while.

To be completely honest, I have become jealous of those people who are allowed to picket in the streets on issues ranging from abortion to global warming. I envy people who can put up signs in their front yard and wear shirts that say "Obama Girl" or "I love John McCain" in big bold letters. People do not realize what a privilege it is to be able to express these beliefs, but I have chosen to forgo this right in order to present the truth to the public as clearly as possible. But this is not being said so that you feel sorry for me. Instead, I just want people to understand how valuable their opinion is, and how it should not be taken advantage of or misused. 

So back to the issue of journalists. Should they be able to speak about their beliefs? I do not think they should be extremely vocal about them because many people would then bring it into their writing. It would be extremely difficult for the public to see past a clearly liberal or conservative filter. But at the same time, journalists should not have to suppress all their beliefs. I think the public should be able to know who a journalist supports and what those journalists religious beliefs are. But that is about as far as it should go. If a journalist feels the need to rant and rave, he needs to find a confidante, like I have in my brother to go "spill his guts out to." Blogs can fulfill this need to an extent, but because of their lack of privacy, they can easily cross the boundary. This is a difficult issue with no simple solution, but the main point is that journalists should attempt to be objective in their method of journalism and need to find ways to control and direct their opinions toward productive outcomes.