A former radio journalist, fired for blogging critically about the notion of neutral reporting, dives deep into the history of “objectivity” in journalism and how its been used to gatekeep and silence marginalized writers as far back as Ida B. Wells.
Wallace's book...is an exceptional study in the history and development of the concept of journalistic objectivity—and all the problems associated with it ... Wallace's book is important from two angles: historical and theoretical ... Wallace covers a lot of ground in his study, examining cases of journalists who fell afoul of conservative journalism's norms by challenging the deeply-vested interests that hide behind the veil of 'objectivity' ... The View from Somewhere is an outstanding and urgently needed critique of journalistic orthodoxy. It questions who is served best by claims of 'objectivity' and 'balance' and exposes the hidden biases they disguise. Offering some new directions for journalism, it also offers important food for thought for anyone who aspires to practice the trade, and ought to be required reading in journalism schools everywhere.
In The View from Somewhere, Wallace responds...with a thoughtfully researched series of essays on journalistic objectivity, placing himself squarely on the side of the concept’s malcontents ... his book paints an often damning picture of a news industry that uses the rhetoric of neutrality to serve the powerful ...When it comes to the work of individual journalists, though, Wallace is too quick to treat 'perspective' as something self-explanatory, emanating directly from a writer’s social position. In reality, a writer’s point of view consists of more than her relationship to structures of power; she crafts her ideas through her prose ... . Ironically, the neglect of texture homogenizes the very diversity the book is meant to champion. Even a chapter on 'Public Radio Voice' has almost nothing to say about voices, beyond basic observations about NPR’s whiteness; indeed, much of the book is itself written in public radio voice, sometimes lending it the quality of a podcast that has become sentient and begun to inquire into its own origins.
An examination of a significant, contentious issue in the field of journalism ... Wallace is rarely preachy in his arguments; his case comes across as nuanced and subtle ... A compelling addition to the ongoing conversation on journalism and how it is practiced and consumed.