Posts Tagged ‘Hulteng’

On Friday, the University of Oregon’s journalism school hosted an event in it’s 2011 Hulteng Conversations series on campus in Eugene.  The panelists were eloquent and passionate as they spoke about ethics in journalism and the changes that new media will bring about.  Stephen Colbert’s term “truthiness” served as a frame for the demise of “objective” journalism.  Overall, I agreed with the panelists’ well reasoned support for a move away from journalism’s failed attempt to be objective.

However, in my opinion, the panelists fell short of really hitting the essence of why people like Stephen Colbert and John Stewart have captured the attention of my generation.  I’m part of a generation that doesn’t really remember a time before Fox News.  For us, journalism has never looked objective.   We’ve watched “journalists” kill the truth and defecate on its corpse.  Colbert and Stewart are heroes to people my age because they fight back, and don’t make pretenses at objectivity.  Waging an ideological battle against the likes of Fox isn’t easy, and a lot of times it feels like journalists hide behind objectivity as an excuse to never take a stand that parts of their audience might disagree with.  Objectivity often seems like it’s a ideological backing to be so milquetoast that news outlets can appeal to the maximum number of listeners, and in reality, trying to please everyone has led to news outlets pleasing no one.

Colbert and Stewart didn’t get to their level of status by having panel discussions about changing ethical frameworks.  The objective model has seen it’s day and Colbert and Stewart recognized that, but they are using the voices they have to mix it up, instead of fighting fire with bland.  I’m as big a fan of academia as anyone,  and I enjoyed the speakers, but I feel like academia’s reasoned analyses often lag way behind reality.  A rational discussion of changes to media ethics is all well and good, but I think a lot of the younger people in the room had already accepted that times had changed, and wanted to hear more about how we can move forward from here.

But maybe that’s just my own biased and non-objective opinion.


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