In the wake of last year’s Presidential elections, many of us have seen how twisted our news can get on both sides. With election news stories bending to the will of political affiliation, the “who, what, and where” of numerous events became ambiguous. This, as many of us have grown to realize, is not something unique to the elections. What CNN says about the Boston bombers will be different than what Fox News says; the New York Times will have its own opinion too. This is not a problem specific to the United States – a recent report shows nearly 80 percent of Jews living in the UK see an anti-Israel bias in BBC reporting. For those of you who are not familiar, the BBC is Britain’s number one news source and is required by law to remain unbiased. If we cannot rely on these staples of Western journalism to provide us with neutral and unbiased news, then who can we trust?
With this question in mind, I reflected on Latin’s celebrated news source: The Forum. We look to this resource for anything from personal accounts of Chicago gun crime to commentary on the lunches consumed by Latin School girls. We are a community with different opinions, biases, and backgrounds, and this is apparent in our articles. But maybe that’s a good thing when it comes to our newspaper. Junior Rachel Blackman believes that people read The Forum to “see other peoples’ opinions and views on something and get a different perspective.” Although the media never fails to cover a negative bias, it seems that when it comes to a school newspaper, bias simply becomes an opinion, and here at Latin, opinions are usually far from negative.
It is because of this, that I found myself dumbfounded by the reaction to last week’s article on Latin’s prom dress group on Facebook. Many people were quick to voice their outrage, highlighting hypocritical points and generalizations they had picked up on, and I couldn’t help but feel a tad defensive. The article was simply an opinion, and whether it was an agreeable opinion or not, it was part of a dialogue. At its core, being part of a dialogue is surely what defines journalism.
The beauty of our newspaper is that anyone can open up a Word document and initiate discussion. We all bring valuable new perspectives and opinions to everything we do, and it is because of this that respecting different stances is key. The Forum does not intend to sway its readers’ opinions, and it is a tool that permits anyone to voice a viewpoint. If we are all quick to express our opinions and biases on certain topics, the topics we read about avoid being one-sided, and that, my friends, is something that we can trust.