March 16, 2004

Same Sex Reporting

I haven't commented on the decision by the management of the San Francisco Chronicle to prohibit newly-wed reporter Rachel Gordon and photographer Liz Mangelsdorf from reporting further on the same-sex marriage story because I know everybody involved. Tom Mangan has a few things to say, though.

Posted by Tim Porter at March 16, 2004 10:23 AM

Well, if my logic holds that closeness to the story makes your knowledge useful, maybe you should say something.

But I can see the minefield of going there...

Posted by: tom mangan on March 16, 2004 10:33 AM

I've got news for media executives: No one believes the media is unbiased. Whether it's fair or not, most people outside the profession believe the media and its practitioners carry some sort of bias, either on behalf of their own personal beliefs or the agenda of the organization they work for. And in many cases, the public is right. So intead of trying to achieve the unattainable--and often undesirable--goal of objectivity, allow reporters to disclose their conflicts and biases, so that audiences and readers can decide for themselves if information is being presented fairly.

Posted by: Jonathan Potts on March 16, 2004 11:48 AM

What we really need is the time, space and commitment to let one or more people provide strictly personal perspectives, but also a straightforward story with multiple perspectives written by somebody who has no ax to grind in the issue at hand.

And we need an audience that wants these things badly enough to insist.

All that is too much to hope for as well.

I'm sorta opposed to the notion that somebody *can't* do a fair job of reporting a story despite their personal biases -- but the courts take this as a given; judges and lawyers step aside from all kinds of cases for just this reason.

Justice can wait, but the news can't.

Posted by: tom mangan on March 16, 2004 12:32 PM
Post a comment