Thursday, June 11, 2020

Microstory 1384: Journalistic Objectivity

Celebrity Interviewer: Truth be told, I do not care for being on this side of the interview.
Entertainment News Colleague: We’ve not even begun.
Celebrity Interviewer: There. That’s the attitude I had, and I was fired for it.
Entertainment News Colleague: Like I said, we haven’t begun.
Celebrity Interviewer: Ugh. I know.
Entertainment News Colleague: We don’t have to do this. I can go run with another story.
Celebrity Interviewer: No, I’m here. I wanna tell my side of the story.
Entertainment News Colleague: Your story is that you were fired recently. Tell me about what precipitated that.
Celebrity Interviewer: First of all, I want to make sure the public understands that I’ve learned my lesson. Journalistic objectivity isn’t something to be taken lightly, but it’s also something that’s very easy to lose sight of. I wouldn’t have gotten the job in the first place if I had developed a reputation of being completely unbiased during my earlier reporting. It starts off small. You make one quip here, inject a bit of your own personal opinion, and it snowballs. I didn’t realize how bad my work had gotten until I watched that supercut.
Entertainment News Colleague: You’re referring to the viral video going around the internet that shows you disrespecting your interviewees.
Celebrity Interviewer: Yes, that’s right. Obviously, I always watch my own interviews, but seeing the worst parts of them all stitched together really opened up my eyes. I was, as you said, disrespectful, and dishonorable. I don’t do that anymore.
Entertainment News Colleague: How did you react when you learned your former assistant is the one who edited and uploaded that supercut?
Celebrity Interviewer: I was relieved and proud of her. She saw an injustice, and she took it upon herself to report that.
Entertainment News Colleague: So, you weren’t mad?
Celebrity Interviewer: Absolutely not. We’re still really great friends. And I don’t mean that as a polite white lie for the public to believe. We really are, and I’m sure she’ll corroborate that.
Entertainment News Colleague: But she’s no longer your assistant.
Celebrity Interviewer: Of course she isn’t. She’s going places, and I wouldn’t have wanted her career to stall by wasting her time managing my calendar, and getting me coffee.
Entertainment News Colleague: Okay. So you mentioned that you don’t conduct interviews in the way you were criticized for doing. I assume that means you’ve gotten another job as a reporter?
Celebrity Interviewer: Yes. I had no shortage of offers from competing media organizations after I was fired. Unfortunately, I had to wait six months before I could accept any one of them, because I signed a standard six-month non-compete clause with my former employer.
Entertainment News Colleague: Was your new employer sympathetic to your situation, or did they agree with your critics?
Celebrity Interviewer: I don’t think those two are mutually exclusive. They agreed completely with my critics. They knew, however, that I would never do it again, because the whole situation humiliated me, and I don’t want to feel like that again. The six months I was unemployed were pretty difficult. I had trouble keeping up with my bills and rent payments. I was never living under and overpass, or anything, but it was rough. Honestly, I believe my former employer would have hired me back, knowing I’ve corrected my behavior, but that would have been bad publicity.
Entertainment News Colleague: So, you harbor no resentment from them?
Celebrity Interviewer: I harbor no resentment for anyone.
Entertainment News Colleague: What about Ex-Cop? Your interview with him was said to be the last straw.
Celebrity Interviewer: Legally speaking, I’m not allowed to discuss Ex-Cop, the scrapped film he was cast in to play himself, the interview itself, or anything related.
Entertainment News Colleague: Okay. So, you said you had some financial troubles after you were let go. But your public image doesn’t seemed to have taken a hit.
Celebrity Interviewer: That’s true, and part of the reason I was able to get hired again so quickly. The public was actually on my side. Most of them couldn’t see anything wrong with how I treated my interviewees, or the news itself. But that’s because they’re not journalists, who agreed to be impartial, objective, and unbiased. I’m grateful for them, for sticking by me, but that doesn’t make what I did okay. I still apologize to my audience for that.
Entertainment News Colleague: Well, I would say good luck with your career, but that wouldn’t be very unbiased of me, so instead, I’ll just say thank you for the interview.
Celebrity Interviewer: Thank you as well. I appreciate the opportunity to explain myself.

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