“Transparency is the new Objectivity”

One of the articles required for the reading in my Indy Media class this Tuesday caught my attention. A blogger, David Weinbereger wrote on his blog talking about how transparency has become the new objectivity in terms of journalism. And just that line, that was his title & is now the title of this post, is incredibly intriguing and seems to be very true.

Journalism for decades has prided itself on being the source of news and information for the public- delivering its content completely objectively, without bias or conflict of interest. Sure in theory that’s great- untainted stories, purely truth & absolute fact….who wouldn’t want that? The concept of objectivity is brilliant, however the application of objectivity is a much more difficult reality & seems to string a very tangled web. Just from experience as a human being (I’m not quoting or referring to any expert testimony on this), people have opinions. It seems to be fairly inherent in human nature to have an opinion, an outlook or a unique perception of things in life. And more often than not those perceptions, opinions and outlooks differ from individual to individual. So, regardless of how strongly a journalist strives for objectivity, their human nature is embedded with the stickiness of opinion and bias.  Weinberger sums up the problem of objectivity perfectly in his post: “The problem with objectivity is that it tries to show what the world looks like from no particular point of view, which is like wondering what something looks like in the dark.” 

The new age of indy media & the internet is creating an incredible transformation from the attempted application of objectivity to the delivery of news to the application of transparency to the delivery of news.

Weinbereger particularly references the use of “linking” online as an key element in the transformation. It’s perfect. A reader can read through an entire post online and when things are linked in the story, they can see exactly where the author gathered their information to create the story. There becomes less hesitation to not trust sources and proving legitimacy is right at that the reader’s fingertips-they are no longer at the mercy of these news outlets to “ensure” quality & legitimacy.

The conversational feel to indy media makes for a much easier platform to generate transparency. Readers have the ability to directly contact the authors of online pieces to ask questions via email or telephone (both are often listed) and also to comment on posts. The openness facilitated by the internet paves the way for transparency.

The transparency of the online world and the news sources that call the web home are leading to incredible expansions and revitalization of the journalism world. Will Bunch’s, A Landmark for bloggers and the Future for Journalism” discusses how the online world has allowed for investigative journalism to reach new heights. The resources provided by readers is incredibly vital to the sustaining of journalism. And the happier and more involved the readers feel in the content the more likely they are to stay faithful and contribute, making these new online news sources an integral part of news dissemination.

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