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    Friday, 29 June 2007

    The submerged part of the impartiality iceberg?

    There is an interesting debate on Adrian Monck's blog on the fact-opinion dichotomy / continuum. The unsurprising consensus is that editorial opinion, culture and professionalism do - of course - influence the selection of news items and the slants taken on them (albeit to differing degrees in different newsrooms), and that the key to avoiding bias is accountability. This need is the oft-unremarked, but always necessary counterpart to other, ex post checks on the objectivity (quality?) of media content, such as those requiring accuracy or impartiality (qualitative / quantitative, however measured).

    The real quandary here is just how to encourage or impose such accountability. One option mentioned in the debate is the reflective editors' blog, another is the responsive readers' editor. Ultimately, however, this oversight is difficult to effect because the influences that shape editorial decision-making are often sub-merged or even sub-conscious (this is, of course, the crux of the propaganda model critique - 1,2).

    It may be that the central regulatory mechanisms can only ever be socio-cultural: an openness to criticism (with the flip-side of watchfulness on the part of consumers of media, bloggers and others), or lines in the sand for journalistic staff (on which today's papers offer two most fantastic examples: the Wall Street Journal staff's stay-at-home protest, and Mika Brzezinski's moment - 1,2).

    1 comment:

    Andrew Scott said...

    See further, the following commentary on Mika B:

    The Observer (interview): Why I said 'no' to Paris Hilton mania

    The Guardian: I have a new hero and her name is Mika Brzezinski

    The Independent: America could do with a few feral beasts

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