Do Reporters Practice Slants?

Orrin Konheim
2 min readJun 12, 2024

Short answer: No.

I have been acquainted with dozens of journalists throughout over a dozen years of professional reporting, and for the most part, we are simply trying to get from the start of a blank page to a coherent and well-told story that will be filed on deadline and will get us paid. If we’re lucky we can indulge the artistic side of us that wants to be a good storyteller.

However, as budgets get tighter and work gets tighter, we are way too busy to engage in slant, let alone the kind of deep state conspiracies that people accuse us of. Writer Chuck Klosterman once said that your story is written by whomever answers the phone first. We rely on sources and experts for our articles, and often times we reach out to numerous people to cover our bases.

Because we are driven by deadlines and we often are paid by the story rather than the hour, we often give preference to the first person who calls us back. That, ladies and gentleman, is how your story is shaped.

The vast majority of complaints towards the media (at least, in print) are not relevant to the actual way the profession works. I personally have written for publications on the extreme right and extreme left. I might reconsider those publications considering times are more polarizing, but I know people who are non-political but report for Fox News and would likely switch to MSNBC if the money were better.

Additionally, our words generally go through two layers of editors, so it’s not like what we write is what appears on the page. Granted, some editors might change your words a little, but those changes are relatively small.

We’re also conscious of libel laws and AP Style which further standardizes our linguistic and moral decisions.

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Orrin Konheim

Freelance journalist w/professional bylines in 3 dozen publications, writing coach, google me. Patreon: http://www.patreon/com/okjournalist Twitter: okonh0wp