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Journalism EthicsA Philosophical Approach$
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Christopher Meyers

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195370805

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195370805.001.0001

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Inventing Objectivity: New Philosophical Foundations

Inventing Objectivity: New Philosophical Foundations

(p.137) 9 Inventing Objectivity: New Philosophical Foundations
Journalism Ethics

Stephen J. A. Ward

Oxford University Press

Today, journalists face the prospect of another ethical invention. They need a new model that responds to a revolution in media communication of global proportions. The rise of an interactive online journalism that emphasizes immediacy, interpretation, and transparency challenges an older professional model of journalism that stresses careful editorial controls and verification. This chapter studies the invention of news objectivity, philosophically and historically. After distinguishing three senses of objectivity, it outlines how news objectivity was the result of a four-hundred-year-old interaction between the shifting nature of journalism and the shifting notions of objective knowledge and practice. The chapter then explains the doctrine of news objectivity and notes its decline, then concludes with its own attempt at ethical invention. It outlines an alternate understanding of objectivity, called “pragmatic objectivity,” to replace the traditional notion of news objectivity.

Keywords:   journalism, news objectivity, realism, knowledge, market forces, journalistic ethics, pragmatic objectivity

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