Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Better Knowledge, three

From the last "world views" column in the SFGate by Edward M. Gomez.

News flash: There is no such thing as objectivity in American journalism. Instead, in large part as a result of the formulaic practices that are taught in U.S. journalism schools, what most mass-media news organizations pursue is what might be described as merely the presentation of the appearance of objectivity (or "objectivity") in their reporting about any particular subject. Thus, on television, the same talking heads from the so-called left and the so-called right (American media incorrectly use the terms "liberal" and "conservative" all the time, but that's the subject of another discussion) routinely appear, simplistically representing their host programs' dutiful attempts to appear "objective."

Here's why this is the last "world views" column:

As this long, memorable and costly - in so many ways, to so many people - year winds down, so, too, is this regular, daily feature of S.F. Gate, the website and related, online edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, coming to a close after a run of several years. Numerous other, familiar features of this website will also be disappearing, and a notable number of employees from the S.F.Gate/San Francisco Chronicle editorial team will be leaving the print/electronic newspaper as its editorial-production staff is dramatically downsized.

Edward Gomez will be launching his own site next month. I wonder how long before coalitions of writers/columnists/journalists begin to publish collectively. And if we can find an economic model - and perhaps more importantly - an influencing model that will nourish our information sea. In the coming weeks I'm going to try and concentrate on the positive aspects of the web, its amazing resources, its power of communication, and, not least, the upbeat values of the "democratisation of doubt". Healthy skepticism, enlightened skepticism if you will, allows for informed debate around the issue of "objectivity", let's go back to first principles, as they say.

No comments: