By KATHERINE FERNANDES
Media have an enormous power in modifying our cultural and political thoughts. Although the news media have the obligation to be accurate and fair, biased reporting occurs.
Bias reporting refers to the bias within the mass media in the way that events and stories are told.
Media can have a hostile effect on viewers, readers and listeners. We are not as smart as we think we are and we can be unconsciously convinced to view things in a certain way portrayed by the media.
Government influence, recruited staff, intended audience and the ownership of the news source are some of the factors that can lead to bias.
The things we need to consider when we read news are the source’s race, age and gender, stereotypes and the point of view in which a news story is reported.
For instance, if an article has many government sources and few sources from the community, it might be biased toward a political view.
We also need to consider the diversity of people included in the article. This includes race, sexual orientation, gender and age.
Stereotypes is another thing to consider. An article might be focusing on black people as possible suspects of a crime because “most crimes include black people.” Is the writer defending white people just because he has adopted bad thoughts of this specific type of individuals? What if the offenders were of white color?
As journalists, maybe we are not biased toward a certain point of view. Nevertheless, our story can be biased if we ignore some details and include others. For example, if someone is covering a story about a protest and ignores information about the people that are against the protest. Of course, this gives the readers a different opinion about the event.
When writing we should consider different type of sources to have a story that is influenced by the attitudes and background of different kind of people, not only by a certain group with particular thoughts and beliefs.