Posted September 23, 2015 by Cooper Point Journal in Letters & Opinion
 
 

Letter from the Editor

In the way that most are taught to practice journalism, the ethical responsibility to fair reporting is considered giving equal weight to two sides. We are also taught that objective journalism means that a writer must remove themselves as much as possible from their own perspective in order to avoid being biased. These concepts of objectivity may appear to be logical and fair on their surface, however I believe the ways they are enacted are often deeply flawed.

No writer ever truly lacks a political stance, instead the construct of ‘objective reporting’ most often means a ‘centrist’ politic that fails to challenge the current ways of the world. Nor do I believe writers should attempt to be apolitical, because this complacency in power structures will only ever serve to reinforce oppressive systems. Perspectives, identities, and world-view are always deeply embedded in the stories around us, I believe we have a responsibility to recognize and respect this through our reporting.

If we begin by acknowledging there is already often a deeply unequal footing between parties we are reporting on, an interpretation of fairness as simply “reporting both sides” would just reinforce an already unfair status quo. We can not pretend that we are reporting on an objectively fair world. As journalists I believe we have a responsibility to remain aware that some voices have a platform and power that is denied to others, and work to counter that.

Those in power make it incredibly easy for us, as journalists, to report stories as they want them to be reported. For example, when reporting on Olympia city policies regarding downtown, government officials, through press releases and presentations, supply journalists with a story that can easily be ran. However this shapes the narrative of that story in a way that leaves out the voices of the houseless community and low income people who are most affected by these policies.

As journalists there is a responsibility to be intentional and vigilant in combating these passive ways that the media is shaped. In this way, I believe focusing on and magnifying voices that are challenging power systems can actually create work that is more fair and accurate, since the voices of those in power are already constantly amplified.

To do this, I hope to foster a wider diversity of voices. I hope to create a platform to discuss the issues that are affecting us and our communities, that intentionally focuses on voices and perspectives that are most often pushed out. This means I will work to create an environment that people, especially those in marginalized communities, can feel comfortable entering. I will also strive to create a culture in which we are encouraged to questions institutions that hold power, in both big and small contexts.  

While these may seem like lofty goals for a college newspaper I feel that within the small community that we serve, the CPJ is quite suited to do this. When media institutions are pushed to report on an event as soon as it happens and create content at extreme speeds, they are easily seduced by convenient narratives presented to them. As a paper that is not in the business of breaking news, we are able to step back and cover stories in a way that links them to the larger systems at play and surrounding context.  

We are a group that covers stories that affect us, and affect our peers, and a publication that our readers can submit to. By only focusing on local issues that have a direct impact on those around us so we are in a position to better to reach out to those who are most affected by everything we cover. This is compounded by our submission based model where any student is able to publish their work, meaning voices that don’t have access to traditional media platforms can have more access to our newspaper.

Although we operate through Evergreen, we are funded purely by student fees, approved solely by a board of students. The administration is unable to exert control over any aspect of our organization meaning we are beholden to our readers, not to any institution. These aspects of our mission are incredibly important to my vision of the paper as a place for alternative perspectives.

Though at times we may fall short of these goals, I will continue striving to hold ourselves to the principles I have laid out. I wish for our community to hold us to these high standards as well, as continue striving for an ethic in creating media that refuses to be complacent in dominant narratives and the perpetuation exclusionary, oppressive norms.

Sincerely,

Felix Chrome

Editor In Chief

 

Tell us what you think! Do you have feedback on how we can do better? Are you interested in publishing your perspective? Write to us via email at cooperpointjournal@gmail.com or come to our newsroom in CAB 332