Transparency is the new objectivity; It’s changing journalism

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November 8, 2012 by kzhen

I really like this post that blogger David Weinberger wrote about how online blogging and linking to sources (transparency) is the new best tool in seeing whether journalists are actually objective. He points out that in print, when a credible source is listed, the reader can just assume that both the source and the writer can be trusted.

However, since blogging uses the online medium and people can write whatever they want there is less of a trust factor that comes with readership and that’s why linking is so important for bloggers. When readers can see where the blogger is getting their information from, they can see whether the blogger is falling on the side of popular narratives and biases or actually considering other voices/ideas.

Some of the comments point to how transparency should not replace objectivity and I completely agree. Journalists should still try to be objective by reaching out to different perspectives, telling the whole story and challenging popular narratives — but at the least transparency can allow the reader to assess whether they want to trust the “objective” agenda of the writer.

I also want to add that blogging and the internet has really changed journalism because readers can challenge writers immediately and that’s another form of transparency because different perspectives can be brought in and seen by others. In print, if a reader had criticisms of the article, they would have to write a letter to the editor, which is then the choice of the editors to publish in their next issue.


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