Political reporters challenge the limits of objectivity
Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 10 October 2011
Are argumentative, confrontational television journalists pushing the limits of media neutrality or just part of a trend in more populist news reporting? A University of Leicester sociologist is to explore the issue at a seminar this week.
In ‘Going Ballistic: Non-neutrality in the Televised Hybrid Political Interview’ on 12 October, Professor Ian Hutchby will outline the structures of a new form of televised political journalism, the Hybrid Political Interview (HPI), which combines standard forms of interview technique with much more tendentious, opinionated, and even argumentative reporting.
Professor Hutchby, of the University’s Department of Sociology, said, “Hybrid types of interview challenge the traditionally conceived ‘neutral’ role of the broadcast news journalist and position them not just as investigator or adversary but as an advocate of a particular socio-political position.
“They tend to appear, at present, in non-mainstream broadcast news outlets such as cable and satellite channels.
“My examination of these interviews raises issues about the role of ‘infotainment’ in political reporting and public debate in the early 21st century. There are further questions to be raised about whether such new news formats impact fundamentally, not just on the nature of political journalism, but also on the role of the media in the democratic process.”