chapter  6
28 Pages

Wrestling with Objectivity and Fairness 1

ByDavid B. Sachsman, James Simon, JoAnn Myer Valenti

The question of the objectivity and fairness of environment reporters spilled into public view in reactions to the November 2004 annual meeting of the industry's professional group, the Society of Environmental Journalists. Going the distance to cover an environment issue, putting the public's interest first, and reporting that wins respect and recognition from their colleagues are hallmarks of ethical decision making in journalism. Environmental journalism invites a re-thinking of some traditional news values. The responses to the second set of questions suggest that while most of Environmental reporters perceive no pro-business bias, a substantial minority do see evidence that some of their peers may very well be slanted in favor of environmentalists. Business advocates have complained that reporters have taken a pro-environment viewpoint on many issues that could affect business, including global warming and the proposed Kyoto treaty, pesticide usage on produce, air pollution standards, the health of the national economy, and the need for government regulation.