Journalism is biased. And I do not pretend to possess the objective truth either.
As I embark on this journey, my objective is to investigate with as open a mind as possible. I wish I were free from bias, yet, as a human being, I am not.
Bias-free content does not exist
In my work as a journalist, I have come to realize that bias-free content does not exist. When I write a piece, there are countless editorial decisions that I need to take. And to a degree, each of these decisions is influenced by my worldview.
I have come to see that as a journalist I am in the position to write the same piece from a number of different angles. That is, information that I think is critical I make sure is at the top; aspects that I believe are less relevant end up in the bottom. Information that I believe is not relevant at all, simply doesn’t make the cut. In short, I make decisions about what I think you should read.
A version of reality
Depending on the order in which I present information and the emphases I place, I offer a particular version of reality. The topics I address (or not), the people I interview (or not), and the questions I ask (or not) – they all add up to the version of reality that I present to you.
And these are just the decisions that I’m aware of. A lot of decisions I take subconsciously.
Beliefs influence our decisions
There are those who object to this view by arguing that it is the journalist’s duty to present information in as objective a manner as possible. I disagree with that. Everyone has beliefs, and everyone has their decisions influenced by their beliefs. Journalists make no exception.
Rather, I think that as a journalist I should make my beliefs explicit so that as a reader, you know how to interpret my writing. Wanting this journey to be as transparent as possible, on this page I thought I’d start by elaborating on an important element of my day-to-day work: taking editorial decisions.
What about yourself? To what degree do you think a journalist can or should be objective? Feel free to comment below!