WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Getting Both Sides of the Story

Sep 11, 2012

The panelists discuss whether it's imperative to get both sides of the story every time a reporter covers an issue.

Panelist Lisa Kernek said it's more important to verify facts and be transparent about how the facts are obtained. She said reporters should strive to get at the truth in an objective way. Kernek said it's not as simple as giving equal amounts of space or time to both sides.

Panelist Mike Murray believes a story can lose its impact if a reporter simply makes it a priority to give both sides equal time. He said fairness should be a goal but added it's a constraint on the reporter to insist that both sides are always told.

Panelist Rich Egger pointed out talk shows often try to include someone from both sides of an issue, which can be misleading to the audience. For example, the vast majority of scientists believe climate change is occurring. But many shows give equal time to researchers on both sides of the issue, which creates the impression that scientists are evenly split.