Should newspapers be biased?

 

As a relatively new contributor to this newspaper it’s becoming painfully obvious that not many people (if anyone) will read this article, or, indeed, this newspaper. It’s no secret that newspapers are quickly being phased out by more modern means of news broadcasting.

Not only are newspapers dying at astonishing rates, the style in which they are written has changed dramatically from their first appearance in the U.S. at the turn of the 18 century.  When newspapers were first published they were much shorter and were written with such a blatant bias that the reading of one by a modern citizen would be akin to drinking two liters of Moxie – difficult to ingest.

When journalism first appeared in America it would not have been hard to ascertain a person’s political leaning simply based on the paper they read (much like Fox News and MSNBC today).

Eventually, in an effort to broaden readership, newspapers became larger and crammed all their bias (opinions) into an editorial section–not unlike the section where this article resides.  Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of The New York Times, understands newspapers are at an important junction now and anticipates change as the movement moves from newsprint to LCDs.  I, however, suggest that the future of newspapers should resemble that of their past.  Journalism should not only include bias, it should embrace it.

It is impossible to appeal to everyone, so why risk alienating the paper from the public with unprovocative “facts?”  Look to the television stations mentioned earlier for proof that targeting an audience and displaying extreme partisanship yields views (or readers in this case).

The benefits of this change would be two-fold.  First, and perhaps most obvious, is the fact that by appealing to a specific audience, the newspaper can guarantee sales to said audience.  These sales would be even more solidified if the writing instigates argument.  Second, the production cost of the newspaper will inevitably go down as well.  While it doesn’t seem feasible to cut the “Sports” and “Arts” sections of the paper, there would no longer be an editorial section (because the entire paper would be an editorial).  Writers wouldn’t need to concern themselves with being objective either.  This equates to fewer reviews, less time spent researching, and easier articles to produce.

There are, conversely, two problems with my suggestion as well; they are as follows.  The first problem is the moral dilemma that publicized partisanship generates.  There is no escaping the fact that replacing factual journalism with opinionated essays adversely affects the intelligence of the populace. However, I don’t mind – as long as my writing gets read.  This brings me to the second problem.  My writing doesn’t get read.  It is impossible for me to institute change when this article only represents the musings of a student on a cloudy Thursday.

 

William Pearson can be contacted at wpearson@ksc.mailcruiser.com

 

 

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