Monthly Archives: November 2009

Perspectives

Here is an example of a reading summary we had to do for our News Perspectives class. This is some of the real work a journalism student does!

Reading Title: Epistemologies in Contention: Journalistic Objectivity as (Un)workable Philosophy

Author: Robert A. Hackett and Yuezhi Zhao

The authors highlight four distinct philosophies concerning objectivity in this article; two which believe objectivity is possible and two which think it’s impossible.

The philosophy of Positivism is pro-objectivity. This theory contends that what can be experienced by our senses are facts and what cannot be does not exist. As journalists, we must use particular techniques of observation but if done correctly, we can most definitely present an accurate article on the event we covered. Positivism is more concerned with accuracy than with balance.

The authors move to Conventionalism and insist that it is the opposite of Positivism in that the reporter never experiences direct perception of the world but sees it only through a lens of preconceived categories or concepts. Objectivism, therefore, cannot exist. The philosophy also highlights the use of language in holding back any kind of objectivity: “The value-laden and pre-structured nature of language compromises journalism’s claims to objectivity.”

Another philosophy that claims objectivity is impossible is Postmodernism/structuralism. Through use of semiotics, an individual does not experience direct perception; values always intrude. Media is actually guilty of constructing our perceptions of the world falsely.

The authors’ position is that of Critical Realism; in which they combine the prior three philosophies. There is indeed an independent reality but individuals can access it through discourse and constant revision and change. “The world is knowable — but not at first sight.” Thus, this philosophy believes objectivity is possible.

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Radio Class

For the first two months of the semester, half of my class was given a radio documentary assignment. Now that those are completed, we have an advanced radio class. Basically, we are given a different position each class—from Assignment Editor to Editorial. We meet at 12:15, set up the show and have three hours to put it all together. While paying attention to TV and Radio news that is ongoing, we prep. We do our interviews, we edit our audio, write our scripts…etc. It was definitely hectic at the beginning. Here is an example of my debrief.

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Montreal Election cont.

McQueenHere I am interviewing the NEW councillor of NDG, Peter McQueen. He is a member of Projet Montreal and the only councillor who is not from Union Montreal in the CDN-NDG borough. He is lively and enthusiastic and it should actually make the borough council meetings a bit more interesting!

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Montreal Election

TremblayLast Sunday was Election Day in Montreal and in municipalities across Quebec. I had a busy night covering the events for Actualites CDN-NDG. My editor and I had hoped to get to all three major party celebrations but Tremblay’s re-election came so quickly we couldn’t make it out to Vision Montreal’s convention. Check out my article here.

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