November 3, 2008

Discussion for journalism students: Should journalists vote?

This is the age-old question.

How can a journalist be fair and balanced if he/she has opinions strong enough to go into a voting booth?

This is the question that purists in the industry AND critics of "the media elite" raise time and time again.

It is always worthwhile for incoming journalists -- our students -- to address early. They really need to get their minds wrapped around the idea that the role of a journalist is to be a fair reporter of events.

But then, what is fair?

Do creationists deserve equal time with evolutionists in a science article?

Does Ralph Nader deserve as much equal space as Obama or McCain in an article about what steps the next president must take? If yes, how about Bob Barr? The Communist Party candidate? Where do you draw the line?

Just thought this time of year is a good time to once again raise the issue of ethical behavior in journalists.

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