Existential objectivity: Freeing journalists to be ethical

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 10 (1):5 – 22 (1995)
Abstract
Journalists enjoy unprecedented freedom from government interference to gather facts from sources, but journalistic tradition and custom restrict the freedom of journalists to report fact as they see it. This study critically examines the concept of objectivity and proposes an alternative philosophy for encouraging ethical behavior. The first section of the article focuses on the ideological and occupational origins of objectivity and identifies the conflict between these two perspectives Next, the study reviews contemporary literature in regard to objectivity, showing how the concept has evolved, and why objectivity as a journalistic norm needs reevaluation. Third, the study proposes linking the occupational norms and standards of objective journalism with a subjective existentialism, which is more consistent with the ideological definition of objectivity. Finally, the study proposes that journalists improve ethical behavior by developing an existential ethic emphasizing individual responsibility.
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