How should we handle the biases of sources and avoid skewing the range of viewpoints?

In responsible journalism, it is important for journalism to remain fair unbiased. However, in some case, the source may have his or her bias and if journalists are not aware, their report will have the bias as well. Therefore, in order to handle the biases of sources and avoid skewing the range of viewpoints, journalists should think critically and try their best to cover all the opinion so that the news story can be fair and balance.

In order to avoid the bias of source, journalists should consider how the source know something and decide to publish the content provided by the source or not [1].  Journalists have to consider whether the source know the information firsthand or not and what is the origin of the information so that to ensure the credibility of the information. Also, journalists have to think about the time of the information provided by the source and to check whether the information is up to date or not. It is crucial as the news event may have different development. If the source is not up to date, it may be inaccurate and bias.

Secondly, journalists should include opinion from a different perspective so as to ensure there is no bias in the source. For example, BBC is accused of being biased towards the protestors during the 2011 London anti-cuts protest and only interview the protestants whose opinion is biased. BBC replied that they featured interviews with protestors and also the response from the government. They also tried to set in context the relatively small scale of the violent demonstration as well so as to ensure the report was fair [2]. Thus, cover most opinions from different sides is a good way to prevent bias of sources and avoid skewing the range of viewpoints.

 

References:

[1] Craig 2017, Sources: Reliability and Attribution, ONA Ethics.

[2] Boaden 2011, Coverage of the TUC rally, BBC News.

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