Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Advocacy Journalism 

Some members of the media have been tut-tutting about Fox News for its patent conservative views and advocacy journalism.  However, what Fox is doing is not new nor innovative.  Reporters forget that most journalism in the history of US media took a point of view and kept it.  They should remember Hearst and Pulitzer, for example, both of whom made no pretense of being objective during the heyday of newspapers. 

From a PR point of view, practitioners can work with media that have viewpoints as long as the practitioners understand where the media are coming from.  Only a few media are so objectionable in how they operate that one avoids them whenever possible.  There is one caution, however.  One should avoid getting tainted by a medium's viewpoint -- that is, appearing to be a supporter of the medium when one isn't. 

Advocacy journalism will run its course eventually and the public will turn back to more fact-based reporting.   At least, that is what happened in US history.  People tired of sorting through opinions for news.  Will it return all the way to the era of "he said-she said?"  It is too early to know, but it is unlikely to happen soon.  We live in tumultuous times.


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