Reporters can’t make everyone happy


Waiting to be served at the Rathskeller, I realized that the server I had was not pleased by my presence.

It didn’t take long to realize why. It was my most recent cover story in the The Miami Hurricane titled, “Loopholes allow for underage drinking at the Rat.”

Although every member of the Rathskeller staff willfully spoke to me, disclosing their encounters with underage drinkers, they were displeased with my story. Why?

Everything I said was factual and thoroughly researched. It is not my fault that these servers were exposed by the underage students they accidentally served.

However, as a journalist, I take the heat of their anger. They blame me, because that’s my job: to report the news as it is — even if people aren’t going to be happy about it.

Had I interviewed the dozens of Rathskeller-goers I did and found nothing but stories of a strictly enforced policy and failed attempts at underage drinking, I would have happily reported that. However, that is not what I found. Was I to report false cases of a strictly enforced policy? No.

Although these servers may be upset by story, it will benefit the entire student body, including them, in the long run, because the attention drawn to the poorly administered policy is to result in a wake-up call to servers.

In all honesty, I would likely shed a tear or two if the Rathskeller was closed, but it’s closing will not be the result of someone exposing the loopholes in the system. It would be a result of the policy continuing to go down the slippery slope it is currently on, because nobody had the guts to draw attention to it.

As a reporter, I am not a traitor to my community, but an investigator. A reporter’s job is to investigate polices, report the facts and expose what is really happening in any given community – regardless if it’s going to make people happy or not.

Peace journalism is great idea, in theory


In my Freedom of Expression class at the University of Miami, we have been discussing peace journalism.  Advocates for peace journalism recognize that today’s media are too eager to focus on violence and tend to favor what they consider to be the victimized parties and assign blame to the “others.”

Peace journalism attempts to give everyone a voice and expose untruths on all sides, while promoting peace and reconciliation instead of war and violence.

In this style of writing, journalists are not supposed to use words like “terrorists,” as these words are considered demonizing language. Instead, they are supposed to call groups by what they call themselves, like al-Qaeda.

Our assignment was to find articles and rank them according to a peace journalism rubric.  As I read through articles, I realized how difficult it would be to adhere to the peace journalism standards. For example, “murdered” has negative and obviously violent connotations, but what else are you supposed to say if that’s what happened? Saying that a man “killed” somebody may have a little less of a negative connotation, but the connotation is there nonetheless.

I agree that an author should make every effort to quote or at least talk to and write about all parties involved and I do think that in many cases this can be done better than it is done now. Sometimes, though, it may be too dangerous.

Should journalists have to reach out to a group that just bombed a civilian’s house? And how are they supposed to talk about this incident without victimizing the civilian? I’m not sure how peace journalism advocates would answer these questions, although it seems to me that the rubric is arbitrary; the person rating an article can interpret the categories and define them however he or she chooses.

One part of the peace journalism rubric is “writer advocates for one side/position.”  (A score of three indicates deviance from the peace journalism philosophy.) This is where peace journalism contradicts itself: it says that authors should be objective, but one of its main goals is to promote peace and reconciliation rather than violence.  Even peace journalism has its own agenda and is inherently biased.

I believe that peace journalism is a noble concept, but it is impractical. It is an unattainable ideal, but we can at least shift toward it, combining some ideas, like less thirst for blood and more open-mindedness, with traditional reporting styles.

Does unbiased journalism exist?


Americans have argued for decades that the news has liberal bias, and for decades, news organizations have denied such allegations. Journalism is, by nature and definition, free of bias. It strives for objectivity. But among all of these allegations must lay a grain of truth. Could the reporting of facts be a lost art?

Groups like the Media Research Center in Reston, Va., exists to “neutralize” the alleged bias in national news media.

Its mission statement says “The Media Research Center’s unwavering commitment to neutralizing left-wing bias in the news media and popular culture has influenced how millions of Americans perceive so-called objective reporting.”

In recent news, unsupportive reports followed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s faux-filibuster against ObamaCare Wednesday. While journalists did not generally praise the actions of Cruz, the filibuster by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis on abortion in June, was nearly applauded. Why?

The Washington Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney offered an explanation. “The media generally supports legalized abortion, while the media generally likes ObamaCare.”

Although this honest explanation generally makes sense, it serves as no excuse to insert opinions into reporting, because biased reporting cannot be classified as news.

However, it seems Americans are disenchanted with the honest reporting of facts, because poor explanations like the Washington Examiner’s lead the public to believe that the news should tell them what they want to hear – and if it doesn’t, they’ll turn to a source that will, the Internet.

Perhaps this alleged left-leaning media is in response to the increase of Americans getting their news information online. In a study reported by Right Side News, it is said that an estimated 84 percent of Americans get their news information online. This number has reportedly nearly doubled in the past five years.

How can a traditional, rule-following news channel keep up with the cunning and expeditious Internet?

Perhaps with bias, it can.