Australian Task 2 (Academic) model answer, June 2011 exam

The international news is a source of knowledge about the world.  How far can journalists be trusted?  What are the qualities of a good journalist?

Many feel that perfectly objective journalism is impossible and that all journalism contains some degree of subjectivity.  In light of this, it is argued that ‘good journalists’ are those who make efforts to reduce subjectivity in their reporting, mainly via two methods.  Firstly, they choose to report for agencies that allow them freedom of press.  Secondly, they accompany their reporting with primary sources of data they have garnered themselves to help add additional objectivity to their story.

Firstly, good journalists are those who work without being subjected to third-party influences.  For reporters working for the Chinese Xinhua News Agency, this is unfortunately impossible.  Stories reported by Xinhua must be initially approved by China’s ruling government party.  Of course, the political agenda of the party calls into question the credibility of all Xinhua reporting.  As a result, the quality of anything a Xinhua reporter says is greatly tainted by the agency for which they work.

Further, good journalists must also make efforts to report on data captured from primary sources.  For example, independent news agencies such as CNN capture most of their videos directly where they occur.  These videos allow viewers to draw their own conclusions regarding worldwide events and thus add much more objectivism to the stories they report.  Thus, good journalists are those who make efforts to present facts with as little subjective comment as possible.

To conclude, good journalists are people who can both work without third-party influence and who can capture primary sources to accompany their reporting.  It is felt that only those journalists who can practice the above should be trusted.


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