ERIC Number: ED161037
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Consequences of Objective Reporting: The Case of "Redlining" in Hartford.
Glasser, Theodore L.; Donohue, Thomas R.
Objective news reporting, in which reporters present but do not evaluate facts, has certain negative consequences. When the convention of journalistic objectivity was adopted around 1900, journalists moved from interpreting and analyzing events to being relatively passive links between sources and audiences. The most troublesome convention of objective reporting for the consumer appears to be the presentation of conflicting truth claims. A 1977 series of articles in the Hartford, Connecticut, "Courant" presented conflicting claims about a Hartford map designating much of the city as "inappropriate" for residence, which was allegedly distributed by a realtor to airlines employees who were being transferred to Hartford. The articles included accusations by civil rights leaders that the maps were designed to steer people away from areas populated by blacks, denials by airlines and realty officials that they had distributed the map, and reactions by public officials. The truth about the facts was never made known, and readers had no way of discriminating among the contradictory claims. While news ought to reflect thoughtful scrutiny, or at least a concern for the probable truth of claims, its form makes this impossible. Moreover, the public debate accommodated in the press is limited to the views of officialdom. (Six "Courant" news stories about the map controversy are included.) (GW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Connecticut (Hartford); Objective Reporting
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (61st, Seattle, Washington, August 13-16, 1978)