In news reporting, objectivity is seen as one of the chief values for journalists. The objectivity norm guides to separate the facts from opinions and focus on reporting only the factual content, resulting in neutral and detached reports rather than emotional ones (Schudson, 2001). On the other hand, reporting poverty appears as a more complex and sensitive issue which may often require the journalist to put forward some of their views to provide the reader with more realistic portrayal of a situation.
One suggested approach for journalists reporting on poverty is to focus on their social commitments. The concept of social responsibility being one of the four theories of the press presents the argument that freedom of the media must be balanced by the social commitments and responsibilities (Siebert, 1956). The news should be controlled by community opinions and ethics, while journalists need to be free from influences and abstain from violating people’s rights. The reporters have the duty to provide the readers with well-structured and contextualized news in a comprehensive manner, giving a range of diverse values and views. Furthermore, the journalists should aim to go beyond entertaining and informing the audience and provide an insightful analysis of the serious issues (Ward, 2009). Once the issue has been highlighted, the public awareness is increased and responsible bodies and organisations can be established. Subsequently, the journalist may present solution for the situation – in which case the ...
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.... The Journalist's Handbook No 71, p. 33-38.
Sainath, P. (2001). None so blind as those who will not see. Unesco Courier , Vol 54(6), p. 44-47.
Schudson, M. (2001). The Objectivity Norm in American Journalism. Journalism, Theory Practice and Criticism, Vol 2(2), p. 149-170.
Shelter England. (2013). Our History. Shelter England: The housing and homelessness charity. Available: http://england.shelter.org.uk/about_us/who_we_are/our_history [Accessed 09 December 2013]
Siebert, Fred et al. (1956). Four Theories of the Press. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Ward, S. (2009). Journalism Ethics For the Global Citizen. Researching Ethics: History of Journalism Ethics. Available: http://www.journalismethics.info/research_ethics/history.htm [Accessed 06 December 2013]
Watson, J. (1998). Media Communication: An Introduction to Theory and Process. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
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