Nov 13th 2019

Two months after the 2016 presidential election radio journalist Lewis Raven Wallace proclaimed “Objectivity is Dead and I’m Okay With it” ( to highlight how “neutrality” in newsrooms can be a tool of white supremacy. While journalism schools and newsrooms often tout objectivity as a pillar of the craft, Wallace argues that if you look back at how American journalism reported on issues like slavery or the early LGBTQ movement, “many of the journalists who’ve told the truth in key historical moments have been outliers and members of an opposition, here and in other countries.”

To further explore the myth of objectivity Wallace is gearing up to launch a book this November, and an accompanying podcast—The View from Somewhere: A Podcast About Journalism With A Purpose (VFS). This week at the Public Newsroom, Wallace and VFS producer Ramona Martinez will share what they’ve learned from interviews with journalists from marginalized and oppressed communities who have pushed back and attempted new ways of thinking about and practicing journalism. They’ll talk about the harm caused by the myth of objectivity, and facilitate group discussion on how journalists can “pursue a framework of fiercely-held values and truly representative newsrooms, alongside rigorous pursuit of the truth” as Wallace writes.

The evening is co-hosted by 14 East Magazine and will be held in the auditorium (LL102) of the Richard and Maggie Daley Building on the university’s downtown campus. This workshop is made possible by generous support from the MacArthur Foundation and is also an unofficial kick-off for the fourth annual engaged journalism conference People Powered Publishing 2019 (

Lewis Raven Wallace is an award-winning independent journalist based in Durham, North Carolina, and a cofounder of Press On, a Southern collective supporting journalism for liberation. His book and podcast, The View from Somewhere, focus on undoing the myth of “objectivity” in journalism and uplifting stories of marginalized journalists. He previously worked for public radio’s Marketplace, WYSO, and WBEZ. He is white and transgender, and was born and raised in the Midwest with deep roots in the South. @lewispants

Ramona Martinez has worked as a producer on BackStory, the American history radio show and podcast out of Charlottesville, Virginia. She previously worked for NPR’s Newscast, and hosted ‘My Country with Ramona Martinez’ on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, which explored the historical roots of country music from the 1920s to 1980s. Martinez specializes in synthesizing large amounts of historical information into audio storytelling, as she did in this episode about the origins of objectivity in American journalism, told through the stories of Ida B. Wells and Ruben Salazar. She and Lewis met each other through NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen after he noticed their shared interested in critiquing objectivity through the lens of power and oppression.

This event is part of City Bureau’s #PublicNewsroom programming, a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.

For more info on past and future Public Newsroom workshops and to becoming a sustaining member of City Bureau, visit

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