How to Create Balance in Journalism
Balance in journalism is considered one of the most important characteristics of any news piece. Balance means a lack of bias, and it is the ethical imperative of a journalist to transmit the news in an impartial manner. This means that a reporter should, whenever possible, demonstrate the opposing viewpoints at play in a story dynamic; it is important to note that there are often more than two sides to any story.
Interview multiple sources for your story. A source is an individual whom you quote in the news piece. A balanced news story contains quotations from at least two individuals. A story on a company going bankrupt, for example, might include viewpoints from company management, employees and members of the community.
Talk to the silent majority, or the group of people who may remain silent on an issue. News media often interview people with polar opposite viewpoints -- politics being a prime example -- despite the fact that most people hold a view that they might not express publicly. When the vehemently supportive and opposed are the loud minorities, it is the job of the news media to invoke the silent majority.
Avoid unnamed sources whenever possible. In extreme cases, journalists may cite an anonymous source. In certain instances in which privacy is of extreme importance this may be acceptable, but reporters should generally avoid calling upon sources who are not under pressure to be accountable for what they say.
Write the story from a neutral point of view. It is the job of the journalist to dictate the direction the story goes, so she should determine an angle that does not side with one party. The journalist should let the reader make a decision for himself; rather than assign value, a journalist's job is to present the facts.
Andrew Cross began writing professionally in 2007 and now works full-time at a Chicago-based public relations agency. He has also served as a reporter, editor, columnist and freelance public relations consultant for several agencies and publications. Cross holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Illinois State University.