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[VIRTUAL] Journalism Beyond “Objectivity” - PEN America
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[VIRTUAL] Journalism Beyond “Objectivity”

Journalism Beyond “Objectivity”

Lewis Raven Wallace of Press On and The View from Somewhere delves into the history of “objectivity” in journalism and how it’s been weaponized against marginalized and oppressed people. The ideal of neutral, impartial journalism has also led to false balance, been used to uphold racism and transphobia, and served to deny legitimacy to oppressed people reporting on their own experiences and communities. But many journalists—often from oppressed communities themselves—have stood outside this model and created fact-based, rigorous journalism in solidarity with social movements.

After a presentation based on the book and podcast, Wallace and co-facilitator Mia Henry will lead a full-group discussion, and participants will be broken up into small groups to strategize about journalism beyond “objectivity.” We’ll ask: What are the ethics of factual, rigorous journalism that is also values-based and accountable to community? How can our journalism better reflect anti-racism and values that lead to liberation for all?

This discussion is open to all, although it is ideal for people who are already engaged in journalism, storytelling, or other fact-based media.

Press On is a Southern collective that strengthens and expands the practice of journalism in service of liberation, or movement journalism. The View from Somewhere is a book and podcast about the myth of “objectivity” in journalism, from University of Chicago Press and Critical Frequency. For more information go to: or

This event is supported by PEN America’s Press Freedom Incentive Fund, an initiative committed to mobilizing local PEN America communities to carry forward our mission to defend and celebrate free expression and supporting efforts to promote informed debate, defend press freedom, engage in literary advocacy, and facilitate dialogue across barriers of all kinds. For more information, visit


Presented in partnership with

Lewis Wallace (he/him/his) is a journalist and activist based in Durham, North Carolina, who’s been active in movements for racial and gender justice for over 15 years. Since 2012, he’s been a full-time reporter and editor, primarily with public radio, and previously he was the coordinator of a community-produced media program with the prison justice organization Project NIA. He has extensive experience with mentorship and political education for both activists and journalists, and his work as a journalist has been recognized with many local and national awards. His book and podcast about the history and future of “objectivity” in journalism, The View from Somewhere, will be out in October 2019.

Mia Henry (she/her/hers) is the founder and principal of Freedom Lifted, a company providing civil rights tours to the Deep South and social justice trainings using a historical lens. Henry has more than 18 years of experience in nonprofit management, social justice facilitation, leadership development, and history education. Most recently, she served as the executive director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College and the founding director of the Chicago Freedom School.