Case in Point

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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Religious hectoring in the newsroom (column: WJI Times Observer)

WJI Times Observer

Case in Point column

Earlier this fall one of our graduates was interviewing for an internship with a well-known Florida newspaper. When the interviewer noticed she was a grad of WJI he asked if she was capable of keeping her views and ideologies out of her stories. She said she was quite capable of being fair, balanced and accurate in her reporting. WJI’s generous internship stipend for its most promising graduates was available to this young lady to work at any paper she chose.

Florida A & M

This aspiring journalist is already a graduate of Florida State University and is completing a second degree (this time in journalism) from Florida A & M, which has a serious journalism program. She is currently interning for the Tallahassee Democrat and freelancing for the A & M student newspaper, The Famuan.  Last year she interned at Southern Living magazine. The point is that this young reporter has the proven smarts, experience, and desire to work for any newspaper in Florida.

But her religious convictions brand her as an ideologue and thus unreliable to report reality in a verifiable manner.

Forget about the debate over the notion of journalistic objectivity and the moral dimension of knowledge. The question I raise is: Did this newspaper official ask every interviewee whether they allow their presuppositions, worldviews, and ideologies to seep into their stories? I suspect not, because even this official understands that each journalist approaches every story with a knowledge architecture that frames her reporting and writing.

 Unfortunately, this tale of religious hectoring is not isolated, and for the aspiring journalist who is a Christian, this official bias results in a never ending struggle to be recognized and appreciated as a journalist of integrity, care and accuracy.

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