Journalists are expected to be unbiased and objective when producing the news.
Although everyone has personal beliefs and values, journalists must produce the news without particular bias for any organizations.
If a news entity makes an effort to hire people who belong to any specific religion, this is unethical.
A USA Today article cited church leaders, social commentators and journalists who felt more evangelicals should work in the media.
Masked with the premise of providing “cultural diversity,” these supporters encourage politicians to attack “liberal” media in order to gain brownie points from evangelicals.
Citing presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain and running mate Gov. Sarah Palin, they suggest “repeated jabs” should be used against “liberal” media.
While church leaders and social commentators can openly support their religion or causes, journalists have standards to uphold.
The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics states that journalists should “examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.”
In the USA Today’s article, Terry Mattingly, director of the Washington Journalism Center for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, stated, “While there’s been heavy gender and racial diversity … there’s a lack of cultural diversity in journalism.”
If evangelists want a presence in the newsroom, they need to train students at religious colleges and universities so they will be marketable for media careers.
The same way HBCUs have career fairs and seek out jobs in specific areas, religious schools should do the same.
Belonging to any culture will naturally affect our decisions and behavior-but journalists use their cultural background to provide balance in the newsroom, not to merely support causes, values or religious beliefs.
Save religious views for editorial columns and religion sections.
Mark Taylor II for the editorial board.