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Opinions, Shminions. What Do You Think?

Currently, I am reading Heat & Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists by Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and Beth Knobel, also a past 60 Minutes journalist whom now teaches journalism.

One of the subjects discussed is keeping objectivity in news reports, meaning the journalist should not appear biased, emotionally involved or provide their own opinion on the subject they are covering.  “Experience, yes.  Opinion, no.” quotes the book.

Under the Categories tab on the right side of my blog, I have an entire category called “News and Opinion”.  Here, I relate news and give my own personal opinion on it, and ask my readers to give their opinion also.  However, should I? Should reporters share their opinion?  Does a reporter’s opinion cause the reader to not have their own opinion and just agree with the reporter?

According to Heat & Light, Lou Dobbs, a former CNN reporter, was “one of the worst offenders” of opinion-based reporting.  Yet, Dobbs, along with other opinion-based news broadcasts and newspapers such as Fox News, MSNBC, The Rolling Stones, and the New Yorker, continue to stay on the air and get published, and have a high number of watchers and readers.  Is it because the reporters give their opinion and help the readers and watchers to create, or at least guide them, to their own opinions?  

Personally, I agree that there should be objectivity when covering “hard news”, or news about politics, world relations, health stories…etc.  However, I think that there is a place for opinion-based news in magazine pages – these pages are called “Op-Ed Pages” – and in “soft news” articles or broadcasts, such as fashion trends, stories which do not directly affect its viewers, news which happened a while ago…etc.  And of course, I think that there should be opinion-based news in blogs as the entire point of a blog is for the blogger to share their opinion.

What about you, what do you think?  Do you think news articles should share the reporter’s opinions or do you think the journalist should keep themselves out of the article and just report it without their opinion?  When reading an opinion-based news article, do you generally lean towards the opinion of the reporter or do you form your own response and opinion?

Let us know in the comment section below!

Happy Monday, All!



About Palm Trees & Bare Feet

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2 responses »

  1. Oh! This topic could keep me writing for days. Unless, the reporter is writing an opinion piece or column, I believe the reporter should remain objective and not interject his/her take on whatever they are reporting. But, I think we all know that objectivity is rare in today’s media. Most mainstream media outlets either have a very left or right bias; and don’t really offer anything in the middle. The one aspect I enjoy about reading news articles is the access I have to public opinion. Social media (blogs, FB, Twitter, etc.) definitely provides an interesting look at how others view the world around them; and on a range of topics. Reporters could use these same tools to give the articles they write more depth as well as multiple viewpoints for the reader to consider. When reading opinion-based writing, I keep an open mind to whatever the writer is discussing. But, I do not necessarily side with the reporter.

    • You hit this topic perfectly. Yes, more and more reporters are using opinion-based reporting and it has become more popular recently. And yes, each broadcaster, or news affiliate, leans either left or right; their agendas are never in the middle. I too agree that I form my own opinions, I don’t necessarily go with what the reporter thinks, however with news which isn’t objective, more and more readers aren’t coming to their own perspective of the article, which is a problem.

      Thanks for your comment, Kate! 🙂


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