Monday, August 27, 2012

Principles of Citizen Journalism: #3 - Fairness

Fairness : Treating opposing points of view with respect

Fairness is a must for all good journalism. Whether you are presenting a balanced story or arguing from a point of view, your readers will feel cheated if you slant the facts or present opposing opinions disingenuously. This section offers guidance on how to play fair.

Fairness is also about letting people respond when they believe you are wrong, even if you do not agree. It also means listening to different viewpoints and incorporating them into the journalism. It does not mean parroting lies or distortions to achieve that lazy equivalence that leads some journalists to get opposing quotes when the facts overwhelmingly support one side.

Ultimately, fairness emerges from a state of mind. We should be aware of what drives us, and always be willing to listen to those who disagree. The first rule of having a conversation is to listen -- we can learn more from people who think we're wrong than from those who agree with what we've said.

Note: We don't necessarily agree with all views expressed in this section; fairness has many nuances. Please chime in with your own ideas in the comments here or on the individual pages.

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