February 7 Forum location: U of T Multifaith Centre

The HAT Forum for February 7 will be at
Multi-Faith Centre in Koffler House, U of T
569 Spadina Avenue, 3rd Floor, Toronto
(enter by rear door)
Access: 510 Spadina streetcar south from Spadina Station to Willcocks St. stop
              650 m walk from Spadina Station
              1100 m walk from Queen's Park Station

Topic: The Media & Objectivity
Date & Time: Saturday Feb 7, 2015 11:00 to 13:00
Location: The Multi-Faith Centre, Koffler House, UofT
                569 Spadina Ave at Willcocks
Proposer: Omar Linares

1. News media and documentaries purportedly inform the public of actual events and people, yet these accounts are mediated by their medium (sound records, photographs, video, written transcriptions and accounts), and mediated also by the participation of those who report and then convey the news or documenting of actual events.

How does this mediation affect the objectivity, truthfulness or veracity, of news coverage and documentaries?

2. How does the fact that audio, photographic, and video records register actual things enhance or limit the character of things? Is a photograph truthful on its own? (supposing that it is has not been tampered with)

3. In media, there is an editing process - a selection of what is captured and what is included. What is the impact of this selection in the objectivity, truthfulness, of a news item?
    Is the amount of coverage granted to a subject equivalent to its objectivity?
    How does this affect the inclusion or omission of other subjects?

4. How truthful can interviews be if interviewees can control what they say and interviewers can control the inclusion or omission of parts of the interview?
How does this control contrast with approaches to interviews as a way to force the truth out of interviewees (for example as in Errol Morris the Thin Blue Line or The Washington Post investigations on the Water Gate scandal)?
Is it possible to arrive at an objective truth, one that accurately refers to an event, through subjective accounts of it?

5. How objective are government advertisements, dramatic reconstructions of events, and documentaries sponsored by those documented? Does their bias prevent them from eliciting some truth? Can truth be extracted from biased accounts of events?

6. Are honesty and objectivity the same thing in news media and documentaries?

On February 14 we will return to 519 Church St.