Thursday, November 13, 2008

Objectivity: Poynter Dean not a believer in its myth...

...which is quite a complex thought.

Others claim the reporter's rule of remaining objective has never really been the case, and for newspapers to pretend to "hold on" to it in the growing age of online opinions and fast-moving facts only holds them back. "I'm not a believer in the myth of objectivity to begin with — what we are talking about is fairness," says Keith Woods, dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute. "We may aspire to [objectivity], but we have not come close to achieving it."

Anyway, Joe Strupp at E&P explores that ole subjective, objectivity.

Meanwhile, this is the second & third paragraph of a more challenging essay (in progress) I was was just sent by Andrew Calcutt, from the University of East London & Philip Hammond, of London South Bank University. This weekend I'm giving the essay a good read. I saw them present this last month: now it's time to think about it.

We subjects first make the world our object; then we make it again, this time as the object of our subjectivity. Objectivity arises from the collective application of subjectivity in the contentious process of producing mental objects – knowledge, designed to capture that material object – the external world, which we subjects have previously made. Objectivity is the condition of those mental objects which are the further objectification of the objective world – the world made into their object by human subjects.

In that journalism is a form of knowledge, it is a particular mental object produced by a specific, designated subject – the journalist. As reporters, journalists apply their subjectivity to that which has already been produced by human subjects. The reporter’s job is to identify the primary object resulting from the actions of human subjects – the event, and make it into a secondary object – the story. By a process of mental production, materialised as words, sound, pictures and the arrangement (design) of these elements, journalists transform an object produced by some subjects (actors whose have actions have resulted in an event) into another object for the cognition of other subjects (readers, listeners, viewers and users).

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