The Making of “Objectivity”
Yesterday, I received a call from Michigan Daily reporter Amy Kim, who was working on a story about MSA’s AirBus service. Having used the service this past Thanksgiving break, the reporter asked me about how my experience was, and I explained that there were no problems, and I was always impressed with the professional organization of the bus service. I then proceeded to tell her I thought the cost of airport transportation without Airbus was extravagant, and explain although I was glad that student government provided the service, it was something the University should operate, year-round. With prospective students, visiting scholars, conference attendees, and many others constantly coming and leaving from Ann Arbor, I’m sure a regularly scheduled airport shuttle – whether operated by the AATA or the University’s transportation department – was needed. The reporter then asked me if there were any problems with the service, and if I knew anyone who had a “bad experience.”
Of everything I told her, what made it into the paper? Not my complaints about how taxi cab fares are “extortion.” Not my suggestion that the University operate airport transportation year-round. And not even very much of what I actually said: the reporter clearly intended to do a story about the “problems” of Airbus, no matter what her interviewees told her. When I worked as a reporter, I always tried to balance the approach I was taking with a story with what people were telling me: if the story seemed to change as I worked on it, I modified my focus accordingly. To insist the story fit your rigid, preconceived mold is a disservice to both the people you interview, and the reading public.
> Daily: “Airbus overflows during holiday”