Bias in journalism: why it’s inevitable

With the recent news of Kirk Herbstreit moving out of Ohio because of pressure from fellow Ohio State alumni and students over his attempt to be objective, I feel compelled to offer some thoughts about reporters and their opinions, the latter of which are usually considered taboo.

Here’s the thing: people who write about sports are people who care about sports. People who care about sports have opinions about issues and current events revolving around sports. In general, no reporter/writer/broadcaster is unbiased. Every person has experiences that shape the way he or she views different situations. It’s impossible to separate a person from his or her background.

Many people go to college … or they have family members who went to a certain college … or they live near that college. That said, those people probably have an attachment to the sports teams of their schools. Now, I ask you: What is so wrong with that?

To me, it’s okay if reporters/sportscasters retain loyalty to their alma maters. As long as they give facts and explain both sides of issues, it should not matter if they are happy when their team wins. For Herbstreit to celebrate his team’s win off camera is not a breach of journalistic standards, in my opinion. For me (as a writer) to smile – okay, grin uncontrollably – when K-State beats KU is not a breach of journalistic standards either.

As long as people listening to a broadcast or reading an article cannot tell what school a reporter went to, I think he or she should be safe from criticism of ‘homerism.’

These days, while I’m writing for the Kansas State Collegian, I feel like any “bias” accusations can be answered easily: Only Kansas State students write for the school newspaper … so there you go.




One Response to “Bias in journalism: why it’s inevitable”

  1. Justin Barton March 14, 2011 at 5:57 am #

    I love this read!

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