The Death of Objectivity & How Solidarity Journalism is Taking Its Place

A riveting interview with Dr. Anita Varma challenges the notion of journalistic objectivity and provides a new framework rooted in traditions like the Black, ethnic press and labor press.

In this riveting and deeply thought-provoking episode, host Ryan Sorrell is joined by Dr. Anita Varma, a leading Journalism scholar renowned for challenging traditional, white supremacist values in media. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Media at UT Austin, and leads the Solidarity Journalism Initiative at the Center for Media Engagement.

Dr. Varma shares her journey and what led her to work in journalism, particularly in solidarity work. Her recent, unprecedented paper Solidarity Reporting on Marginalization, challenges the notion of journalistic objectivity and provides a new framework rooted in traditions like the Black Press, ethnic press and labor press.

The conversation turns to the history of white American journalism and its role in white supremacy, including how white media enabled and empowered white supremacist fascism and racial terror during slavery and Jim Crow. Dr. Varma discusses how solidarity reporting, such as the Black press, differs from traditional journalism (what she terms “monitorial reporting”) and its importance in centering the voices and experiences of marginalized communities.

The podcast also delves into the issue of police departments and their use of state-sanctioned disinformation, particularly in the case of the Kansas City Police Department. Dr. Varma provides insights on how news outlets can cover police departments and hold them accountable.

This episode provides an insightful and thought-provoking discussion on the importance of solidarity journalism and its role in addressing systemic issues affecting marginalized communities.

Read Dr. Varma’s latest paper here.


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