Blurred lines: opinion or reporting

The New York Times’ public editor Clark Hoyt takes aim at the blurring of lines between opinion, analysis and reporting — an issue that I think is critical for the credibility of professional journalism.


“The Times, like most newspapers, long ago ventured far from the safe shores of keeping opinions only on the opinion pages. The news pages are laced with columns, news analysis, criticism, reporter’s notebooks, memos, journals and appraisals — all forms that depart from the straightforward presentation of facts and carry the risk of blurring the line between news and opinion — a line that I believe is critical to the long-term credibility of any news organization . . .

“I agree that journalism that is mere stenography is of little use to readers and is often even misleading. News reporters should provide context. They should challenge false assertions by authority. They should write articles giving their expert analysis. But it may be one step too far to have the same reporter write a column with voice and opinion — explicit or implicit — and news articles that are supposed to be completely impartial. That is taking a big risk with the trust of readers already inclined to believe that the news media, including The Times, are biased.”