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Objectivity, beware!

July 8, 2010

The latest news about CNN’s firing of Octavia Nasr, over a tweet last weekend, should serve as a serious warning to journalists throughout our nation – if not around the world.  Octavia, who was CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs, tweeted this past weekend “Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.”

CNN rightly believed that such a statement compromised her credibility in her position.

The issue goes right to the heart of something I’ve personally been concerned about for quite some time:  the encroachment of personal opinions of reporters into their news reporting.  Don’t get me wrong – the idea that a reporter can be purely objective is at best a dream. We all have our own opinions of things, and no matter how hard we try to be objective, somehow, those opinions will shine through whether through a choice in words or a smirk on our faces.  However, reporters should try their hardest to be objective – and when they are not, it’s their editor’s job to catch it.

With the advent of social media tools such as facebook and twitter, the line has become blurred more than ever. As we get to know some of our favorite news reporters on a much more personal basis than ever before, reporters are putting themselves at great risk by sharing a lot more about themselves and revealing where personal biases lie.

Regardless of what you think about Octavia and her position (good or bad) CNN should be applauded for their decision to let her go.  Still news such as this makes me very, very sad.

Read more about Octavia’s firing here:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/breaking-cnns-octavia-nasr-leaving-network-after-controversial-tweet/http://www.mediaite.com/tv/breaking-cnns-octavia-nasr-leaving-network-after-controversial-tweet/

If you’d like to read more about the ethical guidelines which SHOULD be governing journalists worldwide, read here:

http://www.rjionline.org/mas/code-of-ethics/unesco-principles.php

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