Maintaining independence

Being a good journalist does not mean you can’t have personal opinions; you just can’t let those opinions creep into your reporting. But how do you stay independent from what you are as opposed to what you think? By being a journalist first, says Tom Avila, a staffer for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA).

To me, that means that I don’t give money to advocacy organizations or sign petitions or boycott corporations or march in parades.

It also means there are times when I feel like a bad gay man, because my first concern when it comes to stories regarding the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] community is that they are told fairly and accurately. It means that I accept that not all stories will be positive. It means that I have done interviews where I have spoken in a manner which would seem in conflict with being a “good gay man.”

Avila’s column for the Committee of Concerned Journalists offers solid advice for anyone who “straddle[s] that line between being a journalist and being a member of a minority community.”