Objectivity refers to a lack of bias, judgment, or prejudice in the news reporting, interviewing, and writing process. It means being fair, impartial, disinterested, and nonpartisan. To try to achieve objectivity, you must base your news stories only upon the facts and evidence you have gathered and keep your personal opinions out of your news stories.

Readers and listeners trust you as the journalist to gather the facts, interview your sources, and present the information in a neutral way so they can form their own opinions —not so that you can decide for them. Being objective does not mean avoiding news stories based on issues that are important to you or trying not to feel strongly about events going on in your community. However, you should avoid covering news stories about issues in which you are directly and personally active. Often, even the mere appearance of subjectivity can damage a media organization’s reputation for thoroughness and responsibility. Being objective also means that reporters do not insert themselves in the news they are already covering.

Suppose a community reporter at a major metropolitan newspaper is also a highly visible LGBT activist in that same community who has spoken at several public rallies. Lately, much of her reporting has shifted to local LGBT causes. Although the reporter has worked hard to gather all the facts, interview the relevant people, and present all sides of the story in her work, her editors would rightly be uncomfortable with the situation and remove her from the community beat. Whether or not the reporter’s involvement in LGBT issues ever influenced her reporting is up for debate, but again, appearance is just as important as reality here.


You may agree or disagree with the editors’ decision, but understand that it is not a reprimand. It is a simple matter of maintaining objectivity and professionalism.