Journalism is frequently criticized for being ‘biased’, often because the distinction between news and opinion is not made clear to the reader.
Opinion articles are sometimes flagged by highlighting the writer’s name or including a photo. However, as news media seek to establish their brand, it is not unusual for beat reporters to have their photo along with their byline.
Other times, opinion articles are labelled as opinion, editorial, comment or analysis — terms that a study earlier this year by the American Press Institute found the public does not necessarily understand.
The result is that the reader is unclear whether the article is delivering the facts, a point of view, or something else. As a result s/he may conclude the paper or the reporter is biased. That take-away is trust-damaging, especially when the reader repeats that unchallenged assessment on social media.
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