On numerous occasions I have been told to be more impartial. Doing a Google define search – http://tinyurl.com/lvqc3yq – and applying the word to myself, I can’t really say that it defines me, nor do I see any reason to be a lot of the time.
It wasn’t until a visit from Rachel Kerr, the North East Online editor for the BBC, visited my group to talk to us about her work at the BBC, that I toyed with the idea of being impartial.
After moving from her previous job at the chronicle, Rachel got into trouble for writing a murder article and describing it as ‘a murder in cold blood’.
Typically at the chronicle this was fine, but at the BBC, one of the biggest news broadcasters in the country, it was a different story. The reply from her editor was ‘We are the BBC and we can’t say stuff like that’.
Saying the murder was in ‘cold blood’ was a biased view. It prematurely convicted the attackers before the audience had a chance to make up their mind and in doing so, unintentionally put the writer’s opinion onto the reader.
In all methods of communicating to an audience, it is important to give them the whole story. Even if you think the methodology is flawed or if the data is not broad enough, it is important to remember that when reporting, you must show the complete picture and allow each reader the chance to come to their own conclusion.