Objectivity, we hardly knew ye…

I read a great blog on the New Statesman website a few moments ago by the tremendous Laurie Penny, and I felt I had to share a few thoughts. Please keep in mind that these thoughts don’t really have very much to do with the subject of the article, but more about the idea of journalistic objectivity. This is an idea which has been bugging me for months now, brought on by the oncoming storm that is my honours dissertation.

First, context: Penny has become deeply involved with the current protest movement in the UK, and has written extensively about a lot of it’s key events and ideas. In this new piece for New Statesman, she stated:

“This has stretched my objectivity to its limits. I have had to work and rework the article to make sure I was constructing an accurate portrait.”

We all carry our own personal opinions and bias. Though, as journalists and writers, we can strive to create as objective a representation of events as they unfold, surely it is impossible to be entirely free of bias in our writing, if our own perception of the facts is altered simply by how we look at them.

So, my question to you: is total objectivity still an aim worth striving for, or should we accept our built-in biases and document the world as we see it?


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