Thursday, January 26, 2017

How Involved Can Journalists Be in The Subjects They Report Upon?

Did you know that members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are the ones who decide whether former baseball players get enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame? It's true. Journalists vote to see who will go into the Hall.

Last week, in his column about this year's HOF nominees, Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Bob Ford (left) stated that despite being a member of the BBWAA, he does not vote. He wrote:

"My belief is that journalists should not be in the position of attempting to impartially report on a process in which they are involved. We don't let political reporters serve on candidate nomination committees or the like, and the principle is the same."

Do you agree?

Does voting mean that journalists cannot report on the process without a sense of bias, or even hypocrisy?

Or is he taking his role too seriously?

How involved can journalists be in the subjects they are reporting upon?

Can a finance reporter invest his/her money? Can a political reporter be registered as a Republican or Democrat? Does an education reporter need to think twice before sending their children to private schools?


Jonathan Richman said...

The struggle that the Baseball Writers Association of America has every year when it's time to vote on HOF nominees is definitely clear. With the steroid era making it troublesome for voters to cast votes for Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. At the same time, the HOF has another problem. Biased voting and nonsense votes.
I agree with Bob Ford to an extent. There are some writers who should be stripped of their right to cast ballots. I hope that the HOF has a system that ensures the writers are voting based on statistical thresholds as well as yearly awards, rather than their biases.

Dylan Long said...

I believe that a good journalist can handle reporting the facts of a story without letting their personal beliefs tainting the presentation of these facts. In ours heads, everybody takes sides, but a good journalist can handle the duty of keeping their personal opinions separate from their work and their presentation of facts. Similar to the HOF example, I believe that it's acceptable for a political reporter to be registered as Republican, Democrat or other and participate in democracy. It comes down to whether a journalist can handle keeping their own personal biases and opinions separate from their reporting.

Danyang Miao said...

In my view, it is acceptable that a person who is a journalist has a bias or preference for sports, politics, or players. However, it is unacceptable that a report which is from a journalist has a bias, stereotype or prejudice. In this case, voters may meet difficulties to report the process justice.; what Bob Ford did is understandable. But in many institution, journalists may allow having their opinion if they can be total objective.

Unknown said...

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Johnterri Rivers-Maldonado said...

Journalist should show interest in the story they're reporting on. In my own opinion when a journalist is engaged in the story being reported on, that story has a better chance of being reported to the public better. However, what's too involved?

When the story being reported is not about a current issue or piece of current news and the story is centered around the journalist reporting the story, to me, this is what I call too involved. In situations like this the journalist diminishes the story by shinning more light on themselves.