Former Israeli journalist upholds news objectivity

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 18, 2019
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Despite the sweeping implications of social media, where serious news from the print industry has been challenged by short, instantaneous and opinionated reports, Pinchas Landau, a former Israeli financial correspondent, insists that objectivity remains one of the fundamental values defining journalism.

"In my opinion, our job as journalists is to be objective, which means representing the whole picture of references," Landau said during a question-and-answer session after addressing a symposium hosted recently at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).

"In the old days as a traditional journalist, you'd have to write first of all a report that may say how you propose to tell the story, " he said. "You have to write the stuff to make sense and be consistent, and in journalism you have to write facts, not your opinions."

Born and raised in London, Landau moved with his family to Israel in 1976. He had worked as a financial journalist before setting up a consultancy on economic and financial affairs in the Middle East.

While speaking to the young audience from BFSU's school of journalism, Landau expressed hope that they will stick to the principles on which the media is supposed to be based, despite the impact of the technological transformations now underway.

"For the past 20 years, social media has had an enormous impact," Landau said. "Today in the West, it is very difficult to find the line between opinion and fact, as it is very blurred."

To exemplify his views, he explained that a facts-only sentence should be written in this way: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is going through something" rather than "Prime Minister Netanyahu today promised again, as he did last week, that he will deal with some problems which he failed to do till now" or "Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a groundbreaking initiative, proposed to do something."

According to Landau, the latter two sentences indicate that "you are changing the factual story to bring something either too positive or too negative."

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