Reporting on prisons in the United States can be challenging and often frustrating for even the most respected publications and seasoned journalists. It can't be approached like any other beat. The good news is that organizations are penetrating the confusing, dense veil of prison policies and prison life. And, they’re supporting prisoners who dare to write as incarcerated journalists and sharing tips with editors and journalists on the outside who want to report on prisons.
Like it or not, unexpected situations are going to keep happening. Whether it’s a hurricane, a snowstorm, a tornado, a power outage or a new pandemic, the “unexpected” seems to be coming at an increasing rate. So, with that cheery thought buzzing around in your brain, what can we do about the big, scary unknown? As often happens in these columns, Doug Phares makes one simple suggestion: Be prepared.
The term “objectivity” is itself subjective. If you were to poll the public about their desire and demand for “objective” journalism, many might opine that reporters should stick to the “who, what, when, where and why” model — sans the “why” part. But the “why” is, after all, the essential context of the story, and without it, the public is less informed and not as inclined to read the bare-bones carcass of the story that remains. Of course, contemporary conversations about objectivity and fairness in reporting are much more nuanced and complex.
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