Student journalists should be more subjective.

Joseph Stasko has written a new blog post on why he thinks student journalists should be taught that subjectivity isn’t a bad thing.

From my experiences on the same course, Joseph has a great point. Finding an angle on a news story is inherently at odds with the notion of objectivity that we’re taught.

While a story must be covered giving balance it isn’t a bad thing to give prominence to the most salient arguments. Personally I’d rather read a viewspaper over a newspaper. I want a journalist to tell me what they think is important. That’s what I’m paying for.

If I want a more objective channel for my news I can quickly read the BBC news website. But the BBC is a string of facts and while I can gain knowledge from that, I can’t gain insight.

Journalism students should be taught to be thinkers as well as writers. They should be told to have an opinion, be thought provoking, be controversial. If you can’t be angry, rebellious and controversial as a student then you’re going to be a very dull dinner party guest by the time you’re 35.

Full link to Joseph’s blog


4 thoughts on “Student journalists should be more subjective.

  1. In all fairness students have to get their feet on the ground first and then we can get their opinions later. Although I’m sure we would all like to be Charlie Brooker copies and tell the reader how the world should be, but when thinking of how to teach journalism students we need to think about the skill to report a story first and address the reader. Yes, I do think journalists could tell me what they think more, but aren’t we the ones on the journalism course? The general public might not want to hear from the two year sports journo telling us about what England should next to let’s say oh I don’t know, Ian Wright? Nevertheless you’re right we don’t want to be news junkie robots we all need a voice, but we are all the result of what we have thought, it just takes time for others to think they can say what they want, as to what they have been taught.

  2. University is about 25% being taught and 75% doing and teaching yourself.As I’ve said before it’s not about being a journalism student it’s about being a student journalist. You’re not instantly a journalist the moment you’re handed your degree. We should be journalists now.I disagree with your point about the general public not wanting to listen to students. If you’re a good writer, a good thinker and know what you’re talking about then people will pay attention to what you have to say. Whether you’re a student or not doesn’t matter. You have to get in people’s faces, begin establishing yourself while you’re studying. People who can do this will walk straight into a job at the end of their studies.

  3. Interesting stuff Dan. I’m not going near the aim of university stuff 🙂 But on the point of angles and subjectivity. Surely finding the ‘angle’ is all about picking up on the “salient arguments”?All the angle is really is a way to focus. Not a bad thing. What do you leave in and leave out? The objective/subjective thing is more a matter of motivation and tone than the more process driven angle. That’s where you start to get in to the ins and outs of personal and professional ethics part of defining a journalist. I don’t think it’s as clear cut as angle=objective=not that interesting.

  4. It’s something that someone new to journalism has to learn to balance I guess Andy.I’ve been chided when writing news articles for covering the territory of an opinion piece. This was because I took a controversial but in my opinion more interesting angle. But it was still a news story.I think as long as you aren’t misleading the reader then it’s no bad thing as a student to play with alternative angles on a story. To be confident in your own angle it is essential to consider the alternatives.Maybe coursework isn’t the place to experiment though.

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