A point of view is not a bad thing

In the North American tradition of journalism, it is considered inappropriate for journalists to have actual opinions about the news stories they are covering. But humans have opinions, and everybody knows that, so suppressing this is a ridiculous fiction. What’s pernicious about this tradition is that journalistic writing is more compelling when authors write in their own voice, instead of the detached view from nowhere  shtick that Jay Rosen (rightly!) complains about. It’s even worse in analysis-type pieces, because the journalist is supposed to express their opinion in the piece, but aren’t allowed to do so explicitly, so what happens instead is they find sources they agree with, and then publish quotes from those sources.

This piece by Dave Weigel from a few days ago is an example of the kind of journalistic writing that becomes possible  if a journalist writes in their own voice. Great stuff, and the Washington Post is much poorer for having let him go.

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