Journalist: An Emotionally Involved Person

by davidamelotti

In class on February 3rd, we read an article about a teacher conducting her introductory reporting class at Columbia Journalism School in September of 2001. The instructor went on to explain how her class was barely a month into the course when the terrorist attacks occurred, causing the twin towers to crumble to the ground. As an assignment, she had her students write articles on the event and was surprised the variety of topics that were discussed: racism and prejudice, personal reflections, undertakers organizing corpses.

 

This story of inexperienced writers was part of a larger question in regards to journalists being emotionally involved in their stories. Does it allow for true journalism to be conducted? It is of the opinion of some experts in the field that it is the job of a journalist to become emotionally invested into every topic he or she researches. That the individual writing owes that much to their potential readers. It would seem to me if one were emotionally involved, the article may translate more clearly or the purpose may be more compelling. With that thought in mind, it would also cause some tension in the mind of the journalist as one would want to avoid bias. There are ways of crafting ones thought to express one’s feelings while still being respectful of both parties involved in the story.

In looking at the ethical news values on page 35 in the textbook, accuracy, confirmation, tenacity, dignity, reciprocity, sufficiency, equity, community, and diversity could all be respected in my mind if the journalist would be emotionally involved because if the writer had good intentions, the previously mentioned ethics would be of a concern for the individual and he or she would want to serve her readers to the best of his or her ability.

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