Journalistic Aspirations: The Myth of Objectivity or the Credibility of Impartiality?
by TarikA on April 10, 2014 - 2:09am
Though I’ve concerned myself mostly with writing about civil rights issues or international matters, it’s become apparent that I had done so with the interest of also trying to understand, more clearly, the issue of fair representation and of objectivity in distributed news media. Of course, this issue seemed primarily non-existent in most of the posts that I’ve put up on NewsActivist, but by writing news summaries and delving more deeply into the world of both news and activism, I felt that it would be interesting to explore the similarities exhibited by both vocational pathways. The first two news summaries that I posted on the website – one about the persecution of journalists in Egypt, the other about the violent uprisings in Ukraine – catapulted my interest in trying to delve in more so into political science (political culture, to be more specific) as an academic discipline. Keeping the same mentioned articles in mind, I also drew an interest towards the weight that words and “framing” can have on how a news story becomes interpreted, which has lead me to finding out more about the academic discipline of sociolinguistics. Finally, the interactions between state and society that are displayed in the articles on both Egypt and Ukraine also highlight an interest for politics within a sociological dimension, which is referred to as political sociology within an academic context
The first mentioned academic discipline is political culture, which interests itself in examining the “collective opinions, attitudes and values of individuals about politics”, according to The Canadian Encyclopaedia (2007). In other words, this discipline concerns itself with trying to identify the way that politics are manifested within a given polity (country, province, state, etc.). The second mentioned academic discipline is that of sociolinguistics, which, according to a feature on PBS.org, examines “how language serves and is shaped by the social nature of human beings” (2005). In other words, sociolinguistics is a discipline wherein the affects and influence of language on society (and vice-versa) are measured and examined. The final academic discipline is political sociology, which is fundamentally the examination of how both the political system and society are linked.
Considering that I am intent on writing an academic paper that tries to examine the debate on objectivity and impartiality in journalism, all three of these academic disciplines will serve me in trying to shape an accurate depiction of the news media landscape. Political culture will help me define, or at least make light, of the partisanship that makes up the political system of any government, and how this bias can sometimes circumvent itself into the news media culture. Sociolinguistics and political sociology will go hand-in-hand, as they both will serve me in the interest of determining how the state can influence communication within society. More to the point, these two academic disciplines may help me address the issue of impartiality in journalism, as they will provide me information on how press objectivism may be influenced by politics or how it may also influence the opinions of a society.
Eble, Connie. Public Broadcasting Service. (2005). Sociolinguistics basics. Retrieved April 9, 2014. From http://www.pbs.org/speak/speech/sociolinguistics/sociolinguistics/
Zussman, D.. R. The Canadian Encyclopedia. (2007). Political culture. Retrieved April 9, 2014. From http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/political- culture/