The View from Somewhere

Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity

Lewis Raven Wallace

The View from Somewhere

Lewis Raven Wallace

240 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Cloth $25.00 ISBN: 9780226589176 Will Publish October 2019
E-book $18.00 ISBN: 9780226667430 Will Publish October 2019
#MeToo. #BlackLivesMatter. #NeverAgain. #WontBeErased. Though both the right- and left-wing media claim “objectivity” in their reporting of these and other contentious issues, the American public has become increasingly cynical about truth, fact, and reality. In The View From Somewhere, Lewis Raven Wallace dives deep into the history of “objectivity” in journalism and how it's been used to gatekeep and silence marginalized writers as far back as Ida B. Wells.
 
At its core, this is a book about fierce journalists who have pursued truth and transparency and sometimes been punished for it—not just by tyrannical governments but by journalistic institutions themselves. He highlights the stories of journalists who question “objectivity” with sensitivity and passion: Desmond Cole of the Toronto Star; New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse; Pulitzer Prize-winner Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah; Peabody-winning podcaster John Biewen; Guardian correspondent Gary Younge; former Buzzfeed reporter Meredith Talusan; and many others. Wallace also shares his own experiences as a midwestern transgender journalist and activist who was fired from his job as a national reporter for public radio for speaking out against “objectivity” in coverage of Trump and white supremacy. 
 
With insightful steps through history, Wallace stresses that journalists have never been mere passive observers—the choices they make reflect worldviews tinted by race, class, gender, and geography. He upholds the centrality of facts and the necessary discipline of verification but argues against the long-held standard of “objective” media coverage that asks journalists to claim they are without bias. Using historical and contemporary examples—from lynching in the nineteenth century to transgender issues in the twenty-first—Wallace offers a definitive critique of “objectivity” as a catchall for accurate journalism. He calls for the dismissal of this damaging mythology in order to confront the realities of institutional power, racism, and other forms of oppression and exploitation in the news industry.
 
Now more than ever, journalism that resists extractive, exploitive, and tokenistic practices towards marginalized people isn’t just important—it is essential. Combining Wallace’s intellectual and emotional journey with the wisdom of others’ experiences, The View from Somewhere is a compelling rallying cry against journalist neutrality and for the validity of news told from distinctly subjective voices.  
 
Review Quotes
Celeste Headlee, author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter
“Wallace asks the right questions and makes a powerful case for a re-examination of what journalism is and how it can best serve the public. American journalists will readily admit, I think, that our industry has let down the broader community in recent years. Wallace posits a new solution for how we might avoid the mistakes of the past and move forward in a productive way. The View from Somewhere is both a fascinating dissection of our political body and a passionate plea for reform. It's also a darn good read.”
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