Features Archive - Respond to this Article

Jan/Feb 1999 - Volume 31 Issues 1 & 2

Special 30th Anniversary Section
Just The Facts?
A special Monthly Symposium on objectivity and
the obligation of journalists to their readers

Illustration by Joshua Barlow
We founded this magazine 30 years ago as part of a revolution in journalism. The new journalism sought to cloak bare-bones objective reporting with novelistic flesh. The Monthly also tried to add explicit analysis and a search for solutions to replace what was sometimes a concealed or unconscious bias underlying the old objectivity. By the 1990s, however, the revolution had been perverted: even lead stories in newspapers and the network news shows were being loaded with the reporter's point of view or his desire to appear clever. This problem concerned us enough to make it the feature of our 30th anniversary issue. We asked former Monthly editor Jonathan Alter to review the book "Just the Facts", which traces the origins of "objective" reporting. And we asked our contributing editors and alumni for their opinions on the obligations of journalists to their readers.

~The Editors


CONTRIBUTORS: Jonathan Alter -- Gregg Easterbrook -- James Fallows -- David Ignatius -- Michael Kinsley -- Susannah Lessard -- Art Levine -- Matthew Miller -- Timothy Noah -- Joseph Nocera -- Walter Shapiro -- Scott Schuger

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