Re: Tech writing saves journalism - objectivity is impossible

Subject: Re: Tech writing saves journalism - objectivity is impossible
From: Janani Gopalakrishnan <jananigopalakrishnan -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Ed Gregory <thewriteguy -at- thewritespot -dot- com>, "'Fetzner, Bill'" <BFetzner -at- amsuper -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 20:52:27 -0700 (PDT)

G'morning all!

> Either way, it has always been a lie that journalism
is objective. It
> cannot
> be. It is created/committed by human beings who -
try though they might -
> are going to be human filters for whatever they see
and however they
> transcribe it.

I totally agree. I am a technology journalist (well,
isn't that a
combination of both tech writing and journalism) and I
have noticed how the
author's thoughts and beliefs condition a story. An
author likes a
technology and it excites her, you can see it in the
article. The author
hates a vendor, you can see that in the article. In a
few magazines, I have
noticed that the content in articles is also dictated
by marketing tactics
(XYZ regularly advertises through our magazine,
perhaps you should mention
him in this article.) A lot of such factors, not
always wrong, condition how
a story ultimately shapes up.

> When writing stories about abortion controversies in
court or public
> debate,
> I made certain to have exactly the same number of
paragraphs and points on
> one side as I did on the other.

Wise. Yet, I have noticed that sometimes equal number
of paragraphs are not
required to balance both sides of an issue in a story.
Every sentence in an
article can be in favour of an issue, but a cleverly
worded conclusion that
brings the flipside to the readers' attention is
enough to set them

> Journalism is committed by people. If you believe
any source of
> information
> is somehow "totally truthful, objective, or
comprehensive", then you are
> going through life with your eyes half closed and
with blinders on.

Agreed. How an author perceives a situation,
interprets, analyzes, and
ultimately communicates it to the readers depends on
the personality,
experience, thoughts, opinions, and umpteen other
factors that are exclusive
to that author. As long as authors have a mind of
their own, there is bound
to be subjectivity in journalism and writing.



Janani Gopalakrishnan

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