Thursday, April 22, 2010

POV: In-Class Exercise (Unedited)

Objectivity: an increasingly ominous term used by journalists around the world. What is objectivity? Why do I need to practice the art of journalism within the ever-growing realm the term encompasses? How can I practice objectivity if it’s so abstract? Why does it even matter?

Objectivity matters, dear friend. It matters. Imagine that you are walking down the street. Imagine that you have just come out of the courtroom. You’ve just met with your lawyer and judge because you’re being sued for a tremendous amount of money for a hate crime that you didn’t commit. The person suing you knows that you didn’t do it, you know that, but the judge doesn’t know that.

As you are walking, you approach a dark alleyway. We all know what goes through the minds of many when passing by these types of alleys. You know exactly what I’m talking about: a couple dumpsters, puddles of God-knows-what, the strongest scent you’ve smelled in your entire life.

Now, your mind is on other things when, suddenly, a man makes his presence known to you by putting you in a headlock and dragging you into the alley. He may or may not have a weapon. He is any race that you are not. You struggle. You scream. You kick. You bite.

Eventually, after underestimating your strength, the man gives way and you sock him one right to mouth. Then you give him another, straight to his gut. You don’t care about the blood streaming down his face or his cries for agony as you dart from the alley.

There are a lot of little details that could make or break this unfortunate event for you. It’s all in the hands of the journalists who are now calling you for an interview, knocking at your door. You respectfully decline to speak with them.

The next day, headlines read: Man Accused Of Hate Crimes At It Again! You wake up to that, staring at you from the newspaper on your front porch. You can now kiss goodbye any hope of ever winning that lawsuit. You can thank those pesky journalists you declined to speak to.

Now, I know that you are not a vicious person. You may have never punched someone in your entire life. But the people who are writing and printing the stories don’t know that, do they?

This is where our friend Objectivity comes in. You see, objectivity is nice to everyone it meets. You’re a convicted felon? No matter, I’m just reporting the facts. You’re a star athlete? That doesn’t matter either, because I’m just reporting the facts. You’ve just won the lottery? Cool, but I just want the facts.

Objectivity plays a large role in the world of journalism, and although its lines are always blurring, it’s very important that everyone practices it. Most people don’t appreciate a biased article or broadcast.

(This is not finished.)

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