Is having a point of view unethical?


First of all, I found suggested origin of the definition of the word piping hilarious: the act of making up quotes or inventing sources which came from the idea that the reporter was high from covering the police busts of opium dens. As light-hearted as this is, I found that the book made very viable point about the ethical principals of telling the truth in journalism. It made the point that just because someone writes fictitiously, does not mean they are making something up on purpose. The memory can affect the truth unknowingly to a certain degree.

As journalists we are to report the truth, but the book brings up another good point- whose truth? Where is the line between hard fact and point of view drawn? If I was covering the same story as another reporter, I may choose to paint the subject in a different light or describe the scene in a different way according to my own personal history and overall point of view. The other reporter may paint a completely different picture of a person or a place, but does that mean that one of us is fictionalizing while the other is sticking strictly to the facts? No. Although subjectivity is necessary in journalism, I think it is hard to achieve since there is no on and off switch for a person’s point of view. I think the main ethical question a journalist has to ask himself is whether or not his story will deceive.