The New York Times‘ Michael Wines has written a compelling piece on how journalists deal with the crushing poverty they encounter in the course of their reporting. Wines essentially argues that it is ethical to provide help to people after the reporting is concluded.
Wines, referring to his trips to Africa, poignantly writes:
“So what to do when a penniless father asks why he should open his life free to an outsider when he needs money for food? How to react to the headmistress who says that white people come to her school only to satisfy their own needs, and refuses to talk without a contribution toward new classrooms? Is that so different from interviewing a Washington political consultant over a restaurant lunch on my expense account?”
It makes me wonder: Are we as journalists free, to a certain extent, to take off our objective fedora hats once our work is done? Do we, in the name of objectivity, too often sacrifice a measure of our humanity? And is this lack of humanity, or what some would say is subjectivity, one of the primary reasons that the public’s disdain of journalists has risen to such a degree?