Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Blog 5 Rachel Sale

Rachel Sale

Journalistic objectivity is the idea that a reporter/journalist/editor should not have any bias for or against any person or cause about which an article is written.  A reporter must leave all these things aside and report the facts.  No introspections should be made; nothing should be added to the story that can't be accounted for.  For example, a reporter shouldn't say that a crowd burst into applause at the conclusion of a speech.  This assumes that the audience was excited about the speech, and infers that they agree with the cause.  Instead, a reporter could say that applause followed the speech, or that people applauded.  The phrase "burst into applause" makes this a subjective statement.

"On the Periodical Essayists" celebrates Montaigne's form of writing; he wrote to please himself and as an outlet for his opinion.  The conveyance of information (true or otherwise) was put on the back burner so that he could say what he wanted.  But according to the uncertainty principle, maybe this makes finding Montaigne's position easier.  We are able to see that he speaks of his own mind and is not motivated by anything else so we don't have to guess if there are other motivations.  We see his personal opinion under his words and don't have to search through adjectives or the lack thereof, trying to find where his convictions truly lie.

Hutchins Hapgood seems to be introducing and championing the marriage of reporting and literature like it is his novel idea.  Yet this marriage comes under fire when Hapgood suggests "taking only what fits into the picture and in rejecting what is untypical and superfluous" (425).  This is asking for trouble not only in the literary world but also in the reporting world.  To take a person's story and turn it around and twist it into something that the author believes acceptable or better really makes it a work of pure fiction because of what is left out.  Hapgood adds to this fictitious air when he says that "if enough of an artist, [I] could reproduce [the lives/stories] with the right accent and with a selection judicious enough to picture at once the character of the man and the character of his class environment" (425).  This kind of writing sounds much more like a novel and less like any reporting.

Yet the advice that Stead gave to a beginner (Steed), about removing "every superfluous word, above all, adjectives" (p. 6).  is exactly how I feel journalism should be.  A reporter that lets one adjective creep into his writing has posted his position about an issue and readers can decide for themselves how every statement that follows is for or against that issue.  Also, Stead's assertion that editors have the final say about whether or not the writer has 'something to say' is correct.  The internet has shaken this value of newsworthiness to its core; anyone with at least a dial-up connection can transmit their thoughts and feelings (or lack thereof) over the internet, regardless of the content.

A journalist that attempts to become a fly on the wall can even have some affect on the proceedings of a story and history.  A reporter might deter a mugger from attacking someone merely because that person is not alone.  A fly on the wall is still visible and people may act differently because there is someone around that they are not familiar with or not used to.  A television show on Food Network about a brother and sister sharing a restaurant portrayed the sister as a tyrant and a bitch.  But I think she played a role for the camera; she didn't want the public to think that she didn't run a tight ship or that she would overlook mistakes.  I believe she wanted people to know that she was serious about her job and her tenacity made her appear rabid.

A disrupter almost seems like a better alternative because readers know that interviewees are being as honest as possible with the given circumstances.  Instead of trying to pass a story off as not having any interference, readers are aware that there is some change due to the disruption but the story is not being presented as if there were no interruptions (as a fly on the wall story would be).

1 comment:

  1. "To take a person's story and turn it around and twist it into something that the author believes acceptable or better really makes it a work of pure fiction because of what is left out." <-- but you can never put everything in - right?

    Your question is ?