Stop arguing about objectivity and start serving your audience

As big names debate objectivity and journalism, our panel suggests they are missing the point and may not actually disagree


There’s been a recent flurry of papers and columns on objectivity. I’ve read them all. While there is clearly a generational shift underway in the standards of American journalism, is there really a debate?

Marty Baron, former Washington Post editor, started off this outpouring of philosophical waxing with a straightforward 3,200-word defense of journalism’s traditional ideal of objectivity. Wesley Lowery, a former Post reporter who went toe to toe with Baron during his time at the paper,  responded with a 4,200-word critique of the ham-handed way newsrooms have practiced objectivity. 

A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, tried to reframe the debate as a look at the threat to journalistic independence. 12,000 words. 

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