deadliest deadline

meandering thoughts on the beat

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

the death of neutrality

No, this is not going to be a philosophical treatise on the subject. I’m a little too tired right now to go into that, maybe later. This is just in reaction to a short interview I saw on TV of one of the senior reporters-turned-deskman of the competition. She was reacting to the media crackdown after the declaration of a state of national emergency. She actually said media should just do their job (sounds good here) and be neutral (bleh! Barf!) and objective (triple bleh! Barf!). My first thought was “omigod that is soooooo old school!” Second thought: what kind of values is she and her comment going to impart on the students of journalism, if there are any (I heard most students in UP journalism don’t even want to be in news!). Third, I’m sure glad she’s with the competition and not in my paper. I have always told the trainees (practicum people from journalism schools incl. UP) that to be a reporter, you must first be firm with your beliefs of the world. If you have no concept of the world, then how can you write about it? Also, that you must have an advocacy somehow, that your writing must have a purpose. It must strive to uplift the lives of the majority, make this country a better place, punish wrongdoing, whatever, as long as there is a mission there somehow. Because if you writing from a neutral perspective, if while you are writing you try to be “objective” more than anything else, THEN WHY WRITE? You are just wasting your time, wasting ink and paper, and wasting a chance to make a difference. Take a position, for crying out loud! How can one be objective if at all? Does it mean we have to detach ourselves from what we see around us even if this means detachment from poverty, corruption and just plain bad government? That is totally idiotic, not to mention unattainable. So our writing must blaze with some degree or form of righteous indignation of the wrongs around us. But it must also adhere to standards of fairness, accuracy and balance, not to mention good grammar. Nonetheless, get it out there for the entire world, or at least your editors first, to see. Or else, we should just pick another profession.

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