The Importance of Transparency

In 2009, Joho the Blog published a post that discussed “transparency being the new objectivity” in the journalism world. This blog post goes almost completely against the thought that almost all journalists are ingrained with at the very beginning of their career, that objectivity is key in good reporting.

Joho has some good points though; how can one constantly be objective about everything? At some point, everyone has an opinion on something or other and to pretend that isn’t true is only deceiving the audience/readers/viewers. The American Press Institute published the article, “The lost meaning of objectivity.”

In the article, the institute writes the original meaning of objectivity in journalism was not to intend that journalists were free of bias but that journalists were  “to develop a consistent method of testing information – a transparent approach to evidence – precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their work.” The author continues that it is the practice that should be objective, not the person.

And this is kind of what Joho is saying in his blog post, although he provides a different solution. If a journalist provides the reader with the knowledge of the biases, their production can be viewed by the reader in whatever particular lens they choose to use with that knowledge (hypocritically or as whole-truth).

In the NPR Ethics Handbook, the principle  of transparency gets its own subsection, and one of the promises the outlet makes to viewers is to  “disclose any relationships, whether with partners or funders, that might appear to influence our coverage.” Expand on this idea and encourage journalists to disclose their political, social and economic affiliations, and behold a more transparent field of journalism. I believe this is what Joho meant in his blogpost, and to me, this makes the most sense.

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