Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Rights Information

© 2014 Tyler Sonnemaker


In this essay, I argue that the institution of journalism plays a vital role in informing citizens of a deliberative democratic society, and that to effectively fulfill this role, journalists must report the news objectively. I first examine the historical evolution of objectivity as it pertains to journalism. Then, I elaborate on some of the philosophical concepts that provide the foundation for objectivity. Next, I introduce John Rawls’ idea of public reason, which provides an improved understanding of the role of journalism within a democratic society. I claim from this that journalism must re-envision its role as guardian of the public political forum. Finally, I bring these various discussions together by drawing in the requirements that Stephen Ward lays out in his theory of pragmatic objectivity, and argue that these are necessary to help journalism legitimize its authority to safeguard this forum. In doing so, journalism can ensure both that citizens are objectively informed and that the public forum offers them a sphere in which they can effectively participate in the governance of their democracy.