Instability of journalistic objectivity: The future of the code is in asking how not how much

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Authors
Petrovic, Jelena
Issue Date
2008-04-25
Type
Conference paper
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en_US
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Abstract

American press both praises and stumbles upon objectivity. This study tries to close this gap by providing communication professionals and academia with a definition that understands objectivity, not as a set of stable standards, but as a collection of flexible practices journalists used to maintain their power in society. Additionally, its findings also offer guidelines for a training of the future journalists. Development of objectivity in American journalism identifies three elements of the phenomena: balanced representation of all sides, fairness of the representation, and factuality. History confirms that none of those elements were applied consistently. This study asks in what ways today’s mainstream journalists practice objectivity? The research used content analysis of 123 articles from the Wichita Eagle that covered gubernatorial elections from 1994 to 2006. The codebook tested all three practices: balance, fairness, and factuality. The analysis attempts to show that journalists are inconsistent in applying objectivity, usually don’t separate their opinion from facts, and still try to proportionally represent all sides of an issue.

Description
Paper presented to the 4th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held at the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, Wichita State University, April 25, 2008.
Research completed at the Elliott School of Communication, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Citation
Petrovic, Jelena (2008). Instability of journalistic objectivity : The future of the code is in asking how not how much . In Proceedings: 4th Annual Symposium: Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p.19-20
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Wichita State University. Graduate School.
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