During one of the Cal Poly DanceSport Team practices that I attended, strictly as a reporter of course, the coach was teaching a fiery matador dance called the Paso Doble. The men’s postures were that of a bullfighter trying to capture a mighty matador. The grace and movement both the men and women displayed during their practice completely and utterly caught my attention — and school pride.
This ballroom dance team seemed like an underground sport club. From what the team members told me, not too may people knew that Cal Poly had a dancesport Team or what dancesport even was.
After reporting on the Mustang Ball, a ballroom dance competition the dancesport team was putting on, I had an itch to attend. Not as a reporter, but as a student.
Being in a journalism ethics class this quarter has really opened my eyes to the rights and wrongs of reporting. This particular situation was questionable to me.
Should a student reporter feel bad about attending a sport that they cover? Does this make the article biased toward the sport the reporter is interested in? Or can a reporter still write an non-biased article despite being somewhat involved with the story? After much thought and consideration to the ethics I’ve been learning in my class, I came up with a medium.
Reporters will always have a bias when reporting. Whether they’re covering a controversial topic such as abortion or a noncontroversial topic like the animal shelter. A reporter will have an opinion about a topic simply because they’re human and cannot be objective 100 percent of the time.
That being said, the appearance of objectivity is very important in journalism. Readers expect reporters to maintain a certain distance from their stories. Being involved in any way can come off as getting too close to a source or story. Maintaining a distance from a story is more important for the appearance of being objective rather than objectivity itself.
No, I didn’t end up going to the Mustang Ball. Maintaining the appearance of objectivity is a sacrifice all journalists must make when deciding to report.
Though, I did think about the dancers I met and secretly hoped they would win all of their competitions.