Document Type


Publication Date



There is a lively and often public debate in progress concerning the objectivity of the news media, or the lack of it Scholars have approached this topic from three distinct angles: content analysis, values, and the economics of the news industry. Their conclusions have varied markedly, apparently guided by their particular frames of reference.

This article suggests that while we seem to have lost our fix on objectivity as a measurable attribute of news products, the news work routine of objectivity encourages fairness in our public discourse, and deserves attention in scholarly research.


This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Cooper, S. (1994). News media objectivity: How do we ask the questions? The New Jersey Journal of Communication, 2, 91-106, as published in THE NEW JERSEY JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION, 1994, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at: