Public Journalism and Civic Engagement: A Remedy to Cure Cynicism Caused by Objective Reporting
Pundits agree that the journalistic norm of objective news reporting has caused public cynicism, disengaging citizens from public sphere. As an alternative, focus is given to public journalism or civic journalism, which re-maps the journalist’s role from observer to participant, takes a lead to engage citizens in public issues, and eventually searches for resolutions of social problem. News articles propelled by public journalism reflect deviation from the components of objective reporting as indicated by the fact that journalists express frankly their subjective opinions and put forth an effort to find out remedies for dogmatic social problems. From the interdisciplinary perspective of combining communication studies and political science, this study has conducted an experiment in order to answer the question of whether objective reporting actually causes disinterest in and cynicism on public matters and whether public journalism has potential to revitalize civic engagement. It has been revealed that subjects of a group who read objective news reporting demonstrated stronger cynicism whereas those who read public journalism articles expressed their intention to participate in public issues. In conclusion, opportunities and challenges of public journalism are discussed.
Keywords: Public Journalism, Civic Engagement, Objective Reporting, Public Cynicism
Prof. Minha Kim
Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Sungkyunkwan University
Graduate Student, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Sungkyunkwan University