There Must be a Story Here Somewhere
The public's perception is that as reporters and editors discuss story assignments,
they typically have a preconceived notion of the story line and the sources to be interviewed.
This means that instead of taking a fresh look at the topic and casting a wide
net for sources who can talk about it authoritatively, the story is framed based on what
is known or suspected, or how the reporter thinks about what is known or suspected (Haiman 58).
This is more of a push for flexibility than a scolding for preconceived notions. I think it's natural to have an idea of where a story's going to go. No matter how unbiased you try to be, it's pointless to pretend that you don't have opinions or thoughts.
However, the public's problem is not that journalists aren't robots. Their problem seems to be that journalists pick the path of the story before looking at different angles. Maybe use the obvious sources as stepping stones to the less considered. Bypassing sources early in the intervieweing process because they will take your story a slightly different direction is not honest. Just remember, especially with investigative reporting, to think outside the box.
And what if, after all that digging there's no story? Sometimes that happens, and it's better to concede that a story did not exist than to print something biased and untrue.