Nov 30, 2010
Cece Salomon-Lee

The End of Objective News

By digitaltree515 via Flickr

Over the past few months, my husband and I have discussed the direction that news is heading; and oftentimes, I’m left with the conclusion that news is heading down the wrong path. With this past political cycle and recent posts by Media Bullseye and B.L. Ochman, I’ve come to this conclusion:

The era of striving for objective news has ended

Don’t get me wrong, while the news organizations seek to report just the facts, news has always contained a sliver of perspective that shaped the tone and angle of the story as B.L. indicated in her post. However, the line between conjecture/opinion and reporting the news has been blurred to a point that the general public can no longer delineate one from another.

The competitive, 24/7 news cycle further exacerbates this issue. The tenets of good reporting, such as fact checking and vetting sources, have been thrown out the window in favor of being first. This allows false reports to proliferate quickly over Twitter (who’s the latest dead celebrity), for sloppy reporting with fake quotes sourced from Wikipedia and more.

Rise of commentators and opion bloggers

And the rise of commentators and opinion bloggers is putting personal agendas ahead of the critical issues. As B.L. writes:

“we want to hear from people who are honest, transparent, and opinionated. That way, we know how to interpret what they are telling us”

But is this necessarily the best thing for creating an educated populace regarding domestic and foreign issues? Rather, this allows a few on the left, right and middle to control what we see, watch and listen and create a news funnel that is no longer about informing but rather about ratings. 

Conclusion

While we all tend to gravitate to those who share our opinions, this isn’t necessarily the best way to present the news. Here’s a challenge, watch an English news broadcast from overseas – the BBC, NHK (Japanese broadcast), Germany or other available in your area. Now tell me – are we better or worse off compared to our compatriots worldwide?

3 Comments

  • Cece — I believe the current term is “branded journalism.” Every day I counsel clients how to do it in a B2B setting. Totally fine IMHO, as long as who you are and where you’re coming from are clearly shown.

    However, in the broader cultural sense I too am concerned that there is less and less objective coverage of current events. I’m still a former PoliSci major at heart.

    Careful using Euro comparisons — the British papers have never pretended to be objective, for example.

    • Thanks Chris. But maybe that is the different if the British papers don’t pretend to be objective. When you have a broadcast outlet using “fair and balanced” as a tag line, no matter who you support, it’s clearly not fair and balanced reporting. Right?

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cece Salomon-Lee and Lauren Antista, Jeff Domansky. Jeff Domansky said: Have media quit trying? The End of Objective News #mediarelations #journchat #PR http://bit.ly/gwVoKm [...]

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About

Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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