That naughty little subconscious

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Journalists must keep careful watch over their subconscious. Both chapters of the Haiman text shows that issues of fairness can arise completely unintentionally.

For instance, everyone has a bias. No matter how objective a reporter tries to be, he/she almost always forms an opinion. Sometimes this opinion slips into a story or affects the way a journalist gathers information for a story. Opinion and analysis definitely has a place in journalism today, but I agree that readers deserve a chance to read cold hard facts on a story before someone starts to try to sway them one way or the other. A good point, however, is that many may observe a bias simply because the article doesn't lean the way they feel it should. 

Also, a reporter’s subconscious can cause him to endlessly pursue a story that is not actually a story. It’s hard to separate when to dig further for the truth or just let a story go. If a reporter thinks she knows what direction a story is going to go, it really limits her ability to be fair and to let a story take it’s own path. Editors definitely need to keep on their reporters to keep them open minded to letting a story go a different direction or disappear completely. 

A reporter’s instincts and subconscious can be his best friend or his worst enemy.  In order to write fair stories, reporters must keep these factors in check to avoid biases and pursuing stories that doen't exist. 

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    This page contains a single entry by Katy Snyder published on October 16, 2010 5:32 PM.

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