The View from Somewhere
Accusations of bias and "fake news" plague journalists today, while the 24-hour news cycle creates constant pressure, and news outlets of all political persuasions claim to be objective. In his first book, The View from Somewhere, transgender journalist Lewis Raven Wallace delves into the concept of objectivity and asks what role journalism should play. He begins with #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, both movements shaped by citizen journalism and grassroots organizations operating outside the mainstream media. He examines the tangled connections between facts, truth, point of view and "neutrality" in reporting, using events like the Vietnam War and the AIDS crisis as case studies. He interviews journalists who covered both and ran into trouble for reporting inconvenient facts, or letting their human perspectives show through in their pieces.
Arguing passionately for fact-based, thoughtful, intelligent journalism, Wallace also posits that no journalist can--or should--completely set aside their own perspective. "I don't believe that there is only one truth, but I still believe that truth is worth pursuing," he writes. Later, he urges his fellow journalists to pursue activism if they so choose, subverting the long-time practice of having to choose one or the other. He holds up curiosity as an antidote to misinformation and calls on his colleagues to write from "a place of hope and principle." For reporters and consumers of the news alike, Wallace's book is a fascinating account of how we arrived at this moment, and an urgent, thoughtful case for independent, humane journalism. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams