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The End of Journalism- Version 2.0

Industry, Technology and Politics

Series:

Alec Charles

This book brings together the work of British, American and Australian scholars and practitioners in a substantially new edition of this popular collection. It examines the practices of reportage in an era of social networking and online news, an age of altered audience expectations in which the biggest tabloid scandal is the conduct of the tabloid press itself. It debates notions of subjectivity and objectivity in journalism today, explores how new technologies have mobilized professional and aspiring journalists alike, examines the practices and impacts of citizen journalism and user-generated content, investigates the political and cultural value of populist news and interrogates how radical ongoing developments in political, economic, professional, institutional and technological conditions are continuing to change the nature of the news industry in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

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Andrew Calcutt and Philip Hammond Objectivity, Objectification and the End of Journalism

Extract

Traditionally a core tenet of journalistic professionalism, the idea of objec- tivity has become the target of unremitting attack by academic critics of news and journalism. Today, however, such critics are behind the times. The critique has become the orthodoxy: not only is there a consensus against objectivity among scholars of journalism studies, but journalists themselves have internalised the critique of objectivity. The Society of Professional Journalists, for example, dropped the term ‘objectivity’ from its code of ethics in 1996, at the same time changing ‘seeking the truth’ to simply ‘seeking truth’ (Cunningham 2003: 26). Whatever merits it may have had in the past, the critique of objectivity has become, at best, redundant. This chapter argues for a new understanding of objectivity – as the corollary of human subjectivity, not its opponent. Subjectivity is not reduc- ible to personal opinion. It is, properly, the consciousness of human subjects acting with other subjects in making the world our object. We subjects first make the world our object; then we make it again, this time as the object of our subjectivity. Objectivity arises from the collective application of subjectivity in the contentious process of producing mental objects – knowledge – designed to capture that material object – the external world – which we subjects have previously made. Objectivity is the condition of those mental objects which are the further objectification of the objective world – the world made into their object by human subjects. In that journalism is a form of knowledge, it is a particular mental object...

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