Stenographer or Journalist? Role of the media is up for debate

By Holly Souter

During this pivotal part of history our country is experiencing, journalists are expected to be unattached to the stories they are covering.

But is this a fair standard?

Can a journalist check their personal views at the door and cover events like protests and rallies associated with the Black Lives Matter movement without emotion?

The question has arisen as racial injustice is being highlighted and the issue of police brutality against Black Americans has been exposed. These discussions fall at the same time staffing is being cut in newsrooms across the country and diversity is being jeopardized.

Diversity in newsrooms creates opportunities for a wider range of perspectives to be expressed to the community, according to the associations representing minority journalists.

“We need to have different perspectives and viewpoints and experiences represented in the newsrooms, so that we can be competent journalists reaching out to people in the world who have different experiences and viewpoints,” said Jeremy Fox, president of the Boston chapter of the LBGTQ Journalists Association.

Fox, a correspondent for The Boston Globe, said newsrooms should be structured in a way that allows journalists to be neutral and ultimately unbiased to the stories they must cover. However, with the climate of our country, bias becomes inevitable.

“As human beings it’s incumbent on us to stand up for ourselves, to stand up for the communities that we’re part of, and to stand up for other people we believe in,” Fox said.

Zoe Greenberg, a general assignment for the Globe, also believes that a journalist cannot completely separate the personal self from the professional self.

“It doesn’t make sense to have a view from nowhere,” she said.

Greenberg said that some bias is needed for a story to develop a point of view.

While there is recognition for the need to have diverse staffs that reflect the communities they serve, change is still needed, studies show.

According to the 2019 diversity study done by the News Leaders Association, newsrooms are still underrepresented by nonwhite journalists.

“There seems to be a want now to diversify the newsrooms,” said Jordan Frias, web journalist for 7 News Boston and the only nonwhite member of the New England chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
“But we still have a long way to go,” he said.
Created By
Holly Souter