Trust in journalists is at an all-time low, but the work of journalism matters more than ever. And traditional “objectivity” may be hurting, rather than helping. All journalists have a view from somewhere, and ”objective” journalism often upholds status quo thinking and reinforces racism, sexism, and transphobia. Host Lewis Raven Wallace was fired from the public radio show Marketplace in 2017 for saying just that. In the years since, Lewis has dug into the history of “objectivity,” who it serves, and who it excludes. The View from Somewhere tells the stories of journalists who have resisted “objectivity” and stood up for justice, and envisions new approaches to truth and integrity in journalism.
Reporter Tina Vasquez has always practiced movement journalism, or journalism in service to liberation—but it wasn’t until recently that she realized she had a community and an identity as a movement journalist. On this episode, we unpack this idea of “movement journalism”—what it is, why it matters for marginalized communities, and how it’s different from so-called advocacy journalism.
The End of Extractive Journalism
Extractive journalism—reporting on communities without input or accountability—is the model for a lot of journalism in the U.S., especially journalism about low-income people and communities of color. But lots of people are and have been actively resisting this model. We hear from Sarah Alvarez of Outlier Media in Detroit and Bettina Chang of City Bureau in Chicago about building journalism organizations based on power-sharing rather than extraction, how information can save lives in pandemic times, and how the COVID-19 crisis has changed their work.
Wash Your Hands, Know Your History
Journalist and professor Steven Thrasher draws out the connections between coverage of HIV/AIDS and coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Thrasher joined us for Episode 8 about queer media history and AIDS. Also: How handwashing is a symbol for trust and the ability to be changed by new information.
Standing in the Rising Water
Host Lewis Raven Wallace talks about the need to seize a sense of possibility and imagination during the coronavirus pandemic, reads from The View from Somewhere book about reporting on the end of the world (standing in the rising water), and previews special programming coming soon.
The Colonization of Doubt: Right Wing Media, Fake News, and Bunk
Is it racist? Are they lying? Some journalists are afraid to weigh in on facts even when they have good evidence. Why? Turns out there’s a whole history behind accusations of “liberal media bias” and the twisting of truth by Right Wing pundits. With expert commentary from historian Nicole Hemmer, journalism critic Jay Rosen, and poet and author Kevin Young, this episode explores the history of right wing media, “liberal media bias,” and how we can become truth swimmers, seeking multiple truths without giving up on truth altogether. It features the story of filmmaker Marlon Riggs and a brief dive into the origins of “Birtherism,” the conspiratorial accusation that President Barack Obama was born outside the United States. James Baldwin once wrote, “expose the question the answer hides.” He’s our guide for this episode.
Public Media and the Limits of Diversity
Former public radio reporter Brenda Salinas and former public television producer Cecilia Garcia reflect on how far public media hasn’t come on “diversity” in the last forty years—and why. Also: how producers of color can protect their magic. Lewis and Ramona share their experiences in public media, and suggest a different framework for thinking about “diversity.” Salinas, an NPR Kroc Fellow and a producer at KUT Austin, describes how she was pushed out of public media by racism and sexism; Garcia, creator of the bilingual Latino newsmagazine Para mi Pueblo, sat on a task force in 1977 calling for the kind of diversity public media still struggles with.
I binge listened to this podcast half a year ago. But it has so stuck with me and changed my ideas about objectivity and journalism. Like this morning, while getting cereal for my kids, I found myself mulling over the movement journalism episode, many months after hearing it. That’s a sign of a really powerful podcast and inspired me to leave a review. Thank you for creating it!
Totally captivated when listening! Only have listened to the Queer Media and AIDS episodes so far which were amazing, will definitely be listening to more
Excellent exploration of “objective” reporting
And why such a thing doesn’t exist. And why that’s good.