Journalism idea

posted Jan 15, 2004

We know reporters are biased. They are human, all humans have bias, therefore the reporters are biased.

Suppose the large journalism institutions tried a new style of reporting. Instead of letting one reporter write a story, assign two reporters to the story. We want them to be clearly biased, one on each side of the issue.

Then, write a three-part news article:

Add a rule that each personal part may be no longer then the agreed core. Add a rule that the editors may edit as normal, but they may not decide what fact goes into which part; that's for the reporters only. To make this work, the reporters may need assurance that all three parts are always posted together, and the rules for cutting it down to size may need to be agreed upon. (You might be able to get away with publishing only the core but I think this will fail; it makes the core too contentious.)

This is a way in which an organization could add value to the news that one individual really could not. The news organizations will have an easier time doing this then us independent commentators, though nothing prevents independents from doing this informally.

One weakness is that this only really works in the written word; I can't think of a video format for this that I'd actually be willing to watch. Perhaps an advantage for written-word news?

I would be very interested in seeing this. I'd try it but I think it only really applies to reporting, though perhaps it'd be worth a try on opinion pieces as well. If you'd like to try and you strongly disagree with me on something, let me know and perhaps we can work something out.

 

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