Monday, November 23, 2009

By Special Guest Contributor Stephanie Stebbins!


Why Good Journalism Is Important

There is a disturbing trend I have watched develop over the last decade or so.

Yellow Journalism seems to be taking over more and more respectable news sources.

Now, before anyone forgets, Faux News, I mean, Fox News, has never been even close to a semblance of a credible news source.

I mean, come on. One of their own spokesmen ADMITTED that they use propaganda on a consistent and constant basis.

Now that we have that out of the way, I would like to talk to YOU,CNN.

Yellow Journalism, as I learned it, is the use of attention-grabbing headlines in order to draw in readers or the practice of presenting opinion as fact.

Now, more than ever, we are bombarded with a never-ending stream of information. Whether it is the internet, cable news, or the slowly dying print media, if you want to find out about what is going on in the world, it is literally less than a click away.

The information junkie part of myself is in love with this fact, but the cynical side of me often wonders just how reliable these sources are that the information is coming from.

Really? A helium balloon can carry a six year old child? How stupid do you think we are? Do you mean to tell me you are seriously going to cover this ALL DAY when it takes 4 SECONDS for it to register in your brain that this is physically impossible??? Wow. Faaaaaaantastic.

You see, I don't know if it is because I am the daughter of a former Washington Post reporter and Virginian-Pilot editor or maybe I just have common sense, but more and more I am noticing a lot more opinion seeping in and less and less facts.

And, it bothers me.

It bothers me, immensely.

I see it as a personal responsibility as a journalist, no matter what "type" of journalist you are, to present the facts as they are and NOT what you think of said facts.

I understand that as a writer, you are allotted your own voice and must use it, BUT I draw the line when journalists delve into opinion territory while reporting facts.

Call me silly, but isn't that an editorial and not a report?

I truly believe that especially now we, the American people, DESERVE to be given facts.

Just the facts.

I don't know about you, but if you give me the facts, I can pretty much ascertain my OWN opinion from it, without the help of any "talking head."

And, I truly believe that the rest of us are perfectly capable of doing that, as well.

So, this is my open letter to you, Journalists of America. It is time to bring TRUE fact reporting back.

Walter Cronkite would be pleased.

Your thoughts?


  1. Thanks for this Steph. I have never similar feelings about journalism. The number one rule, at least as I was taught it, was that there was no room for opinion or bias. But hey what do I know, maybe the professors and the books had it all wrong...??? Perhaps the facts, the who's, the what's, the when's, the where's and the how's are bollocks. All that matters in the modern age of journalism it seems is opinion, the more biased the better.

  2. I am so glad you agree, Joseph! Every time I see it/hear it/read it/etc it drives me right up the wall....and, of course, just lights a fire right under my hiney to put myself out there even more. I mean, COME ON PEOPLE! If a relative "nobody blogger" like myself can do it FOR FREE, then WHY aren't the ones being paid to give us JUST FACTS do it? Journalism integrity has gone completely into the pooper and I am fed up with it!