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Why we want our journalists to take a stance at The Correspondent — and ask them to keep a public notebook

Rob Wijnberg
Sep 17, 2018 · 11 min read

We can do better than strive for objectivity

But if that’s the case, people often ask me, why would you explicitly renounce the ideal of objectivity in the founding principles of De Correspondent — the Dutch journalism platform I founded five years ago. And why would you tell your future correspondents at The Correspondent, the English version we hope to launch soon, not to strive for “objectivity”, contrary to what they were probably taught in journalism school?

The unfortunate evolution of objectivity as an admirable ideal

Objectivity in journalism, like many Western articles of faith, began as a late 19th-century ideal with very different aims than those we attach to it today. Originally, most journalism merely served as a megaphone for whoever was in charge. The king dictated, and the reporters wrote it down. Newspapers were filled with pronouncements from on high: declarations of war, changes in navigation routes, calls to prayer, that kind of thing.

The Correspondent’s approach to this troublesome concept

Because the term ‘objectivity’ is still so often hailed as praiseworthy by both journalists and big parts of their audiences, it’s good to remind ourselves once more: there is no such thing as “just sticking to the facts” or “separating facts from opinions”, since all facts are the result of human interpretation.

Source: Echelon Insights

How our correspondents practice transparent subjectivity

At De Correspondent, we adhere to what we call ‘transparent subjectivity’, or in simpler terms: we tell you where we’re coming from. In our principles, our commitment to this idea is explained as follows:

The Correspondent

The Correspondent is a movement for radically different news. Founded in Amsterdam, now bringing our ad-free, member-funded, collaborative journalism to the English language.

Rob Wijnberg

Written by

Philosopher turned entrepreneur on a mission to redefine the news. Founder of The Correspondent, a journalism platform for #unbreakingnews.

The Correspondent

The Correspondent is a movement for radically different news. Founded in Amsterdam, now bringing our ad-free, member-funded, collaborative journalism to the English language.