“The Klavaliers ride to a fall”, Stetson Kennedy

As Nellie Bly, Stetson Kennedy does an undercover report and he does it by answering to the second element granted by Kovach and Rosentiel (page 98). He uses masquerade because it is the only way to write it.

Moreover, if we follow the order of the week’s readings, in chapter 4 of Kovach and Rosentiel, we can approve that Stetson Kennedy made a good choice by waiting the following day to write his article. The time he took to wait allowed him to be more neutral.

However, it is obvious that Stetson Kennedy still has biases, which prevent him from being objective all the time.  He didn’t write scientifically but with a goal, which Walter Lippmann refutes. At the end of his article, Stetson’s aim is clear: he wants to write to deal out justice. Still, he didn’t anticipate this ending so he just tells the facts even if, it is his point of view.  He doesn’t ‘add’, he just describes the scene. His reactions could depreciate and distort his judgment; instead they prove that it is true: “it helps to define the line between fact and fiction”. (page 91 chapter 4)

Kennedy has recourse to transparency by quoting names, nicknames, places, and time. The use of a dominant active voice also contributes to this honesty and clarity.

Furthermore, even if “neutrality is not a fundamental principal of journalism” (page 83 chapter 4), Stetson Kennedy spends his time explaining his reactions and his thoughts to be sure that people won’t think that he would be able to accredit the Klan. By doing it systematically he loses objectivity.

Finally, Stetson Kennedy is always modest, since he never intervenes in this event. He is his own witness. The chapter 5 of Kovach and Rosentiel, sums up Kennedy’s action well, because according to Gil Thelen (page 136) the journalist’s role is to be “a committed observer”.





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