Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Fine Line

I know that a common theme of this semester is how do journalists balance empathy and advocacy with impartiality? I just read this article on about how The Las Vegas Sun managed to beat out The New York times for the Pulitzer this year. One of the highlights of the commentary was that The Sun won the Pulitzer over The Times because of the advocacy they did in printing a series on lax safety regulations in the city. If you don't know much about the situation in Las Vegas right now, and granted I didn't either until I went on vacation there and had a newspaper on my doorstep, there is a massive amount of building going on downtown and also an unprecedented amount of workplace injuries and deaths. The Sun went about investigating and reporting the cozy relationship that builders had with safety regulators and all of the deaths that have thus resulted. This quotes is from the article, you can find it here,
"Indeed, the work by the Sun and the Times, along with the third choice of the St. Petersburg Times, "really did represent three very different manifestations of public service," Boardman said. "And the Sun was more in the investigative mode -- taking on forces that were concealing the facts from the public."

I believe that The Sun exemplified the proper balance of advocacy with neutrality. It is such a thin line that journalists walk between the two, frequently straying too far to one side or the other. But, The Sun reported the facts, served the greater societal interest, and impacted some change in their community. They are well deserving of this award and I hope that we all, as graduating journalists, can take this example of ethics in action and apply it to our communities that we are reporting on and be the catalyst of change....

Alright, now I will get down from my soapbox.

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