100 articles – ‘Speak your mind. Lose your job.’

3 October 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

‘Speak Your Mind. Lose Your Job’ by Jack Shafer

In 2010, former Senior Editor of Middle Eastern Affairs for CNN, Octavia Nasr, was fired 48 hours after expressing her condolences regarding the death of a renowned Hezbollah moderate on Twitter. Similarly, Washington Post blogger, David Weigel was forced to resign after he made derogatory comments about a number of political conservatives inAmerica.

The sackings of these journalists are unjust and worryingly symptomatic of an industry that is obsessed with neutrality, says former Slate media columnist, Jack Shafer. In this article, ‘Speak Your Mind. Lose Your Job’, published in May 2010, Shafer addresses the age -old issue of objectivity in the media, arguing that bias is essential to the production of good quality journalism. According to Shafer, too much emphasis is placed on objectivity of opinion in journalism, and not enough on the verification of information and correct methodology.

Shafer is adamant that both Nasr and Weigel were good journalists who did not deserve to lose their jobs. These incidents reflect poorly on an industry that Shafer accuses of ‘cowardice’ and only being concerned with keeping the ‘nitpickers’ at bay.

Jonathan Wilkinson is studying the Graduate Diploma of Journalism at La Trobe University and is the current deputy editor of upstart. You’ll find him on Twitter: @JonoWilkinson

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