Newsroom transubstantiation

Some interesting posts on the Mothboard about the state of radio. Dale Forbis concluded his with a finger-wag at bloggers:

“Somebody truly needs to tell bloggers, the minute you express an opinion, you are no longer committing journalism. Journalism’s not better, or more valuable — but it also doesn’t include opinion expressed by the journalist. Or, it’s not supposed to. Not good, responsible journalism.”

Most bloggers I know and read don’t think of what they do as journalism. And I’m sure Dale’s scolding tone is unintentional. But I’ve been in many of the same newsrooms he has and I’ve heard reporters take strong, heated stands on controversial issues. Conservatives vs. Liberals. Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice. Gun control. All the biggies. And then sit down and write a story on the same issue they were debating only moments before.

Are we to believe some sort of Miraculous Purge takes place and the reporters’ mind and heart are cleansed and the story he or she writes is untainted by the views expressed only moments before? A newsroom transubstantiation?

I don’t doubt that many reporters believe in this miracle, but it’s a faith not shared by their listeners/viewers/readers. Could it be that blogs are growing in popularity precisely because there is no pretense of objectivity? If we have an opinion, we flop it out there on the table.

I, for one, have no desire to commit journalism. And I hope there’s always someone around willing to do it. And if they can keep their political views and opinions out of their reporting, I’ll light a candle.

Update: When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Dale took me to task on this post and upon reflection I confess to having too much tar on my brush and smearing it indiscriminately. I know and work with a lot of good reporters who work hard at –and, as far as I know, succeed in– keeping their personal views out of their reporting. To suggest otherwise was wrong.

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