Date

3-2017

Degree Name

BS in Journalism

Department

Journalism Department

Advisor(s)

Dan Eller

Abstract

This study focused on bias in political journalism, attempting to find how political journalists today can improve the quality of their work for a better informed public. By collecting data from the literature currently available, gaps within said literature were found. Therefore, three experts within the relevant fields of political communications research, political journalism, and editing were asked the same questionnaire in an individual interview setting in order to resolve the unanswered questions. These interviews were used to further the information already available in the literature, while also attempting to fill in the research question gaps.

After the data was collected, it seemed that the biggest problem for current journalists is a lack of critical thinking in regards to every step of the writing process. Since bias has never been clearly defined within previous research, there are an abundance of different types of bias present in the media; therefore, the best journalists can do is be cognizant of their inherent biases as humans, and critically think about their decision-making processes every step of the way. According to the experts, bias is present from the types of stories deemed newsworthy, to the questions asked in interviews, the sources used, and how the story is worded. Although journalists have limitations such as deadlines and the willingness of sources to speak to the media, the amount of bias will be greatly reduced if journalists pause to think about why they make the decisions they do every step of the story writing process.

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