Impartiality is not fair: Toward an alternative approach to the evaluation of content bias in news stories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Historically, impartiality has been imposed as the norm of professional journalism. Yet, be it conceived in terms of non-partisanship or balance, it offers a limited approach to the evaluation of the quality of news. This article revises the traditional approach to bias: As neutrality is impossible and truth does not lie in the middle, accuracy is better served by fairness than by a delusive position of impartiality. An alternative model promoting fairness is thus proposed, which is based on the criteria of consistency and justification of position-taking. Based on the work of socio-linguist Labov, this model is not without methodological challenges. We apply the model to a newspaper article for illustrative purposes and as a starting point for discussion, showing that, unlike impartiality, fairness is altogether an attainable and desirable standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-618
Number of pages19
JournalJournalism
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Balance
  • bias
  • fairness
  • impartiality
  • journalistic values
  • non-partisanship
  • objectivity

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Impartiality is not fair: Toward an alternative approach to the evaluation of content bias in news stories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this