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A big story broke in medialand this week with AOL’s purchase of The Huffington Post. Amid concerns about the long-term effect of media consolidation on journalism came this gem from HuffPost’s Peter S. Goodman, which I found through Poynter’s Romenesko:

“In the sort of journalism I am interested in practicing here, I want my reporters to reject the false idea that you simply poll people at both extremes of any issue, then paint a line down the middle and point to it as reality. We have to reject the tired notion that objectivity means the reader can get all the way to the bottom of the story and not know what to think. We do have to be objective in our journalism, but this does not mean we are empty vessels with no ideas of our own, and with no prior experiences that influence what we ultimately deliver … .”

Goodman’s column – which should be required reading for every reporter – focused mostly on political and business coverage, but its underlying messages apply to all forms of journalism. He was particularly eloquent about objectivity, transparency and diversity:

“… [O]bjectivity means that we conduct a fully open-minded inquiry. We do not begin our reporting with a fully-formed position. We do not adhere to the contentions of one think tank or political party or government organ as truth. We don’t write to please our friends or sources or interest groups. Rather, we do our own reporting, our own independent thinking, our own scrutinizing. But at the end of that process, we offer a conclusion, and transparently so, with whatever caveats are in order. …

“And this sort of objectivity is the real argument for diversity in newsrooms – the need to ensure that we have people in place who can tell a greater range of stories, so that we collectively see and understand the breadth of the American experience.”

Amen, brother.

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