Advocacy Journalism Done Right


November 7, 2023


Journalism, Opinion


, ,


(FRANKFURT) — Does advocacy journalism always toe the line of ethics? An assertive statement in an article by the Editors of the Scientific American declares, “Safe and accessible reproductive health care is a basic right that is supported by science, medicine, and respect for human dignity.” This declaration, charged with conviction, brings forth a compelling example of advocacy journalism. However, the critical question remains: can such a stance coexist harmoniously with the ethical boundaries prescribed for journalistic practices?

At the core of the discussed article, reproductive health care transcends its identity as a simple medical provision. Instead, it is championed as an inalienable human right. The narrative draws its strength from established domains of science and medicine, seemingly adhering to the journalistic cornerstones of accuracy and verification. Such anchoring in credible disciplines suggests the article’s commitment to ensuring its assertions are neither baseless nor misleading.

A crucial excerpt from the article reads, “By forcing people to have children when they don’t want to, these ideologues strip women of political and earning power, in some cases making them dependent upon men. By forcing people to have children when they are not financially secure, these laws prolong patterns of poverty.” This statement presents a potent argument, linking reproductive rights not just to individual choices but to broader socio-economic implications. Such a connection between personal rights and societal consequences is a hallmark of advocacy journalism—it doesn’t just state facts but attempts to weave a narrative and persuade readers of a particular viewpoint.

However, the advocacy seen here is not devoid of ethical considerations. For one, the article makes its stance clear, ensuring transparency. It doesn’t masquerade its advocacy as unbiased reporting, which would mislead readers. Without even having to read the article, the title “Abortion Rights Are Good Health Care and Good Science” informs the reader of what this article is advocating for. This clarity is in line with ethical guidelines that prioritize honesty and openness about where the information is coming from and for what purpose.

Moreover, while firmly rooted in a specific perspective, the arguments do not resort to falsehoods, exaggerations, or unsubstantiated claims. The piece manages to balance its advocacy role with its journalistic duty to provide accurate and reliable information. Such a balance ensures that while the article is written with a specific goal in mind, it doesn’t deviate from the truth to achieve this aim.

To further validate its points, the article would benefit from incorporating direct quotations or statistical data to underscore the societal implications of restricted reproductive rights. Including testimonies from women affected by such laws or professionals in the field could provide an even more captivating argument. However, this does not negate the fact that the article adheres to ethical principles of journalism.

In the age of digital journalism, where the line between opinion and fact often blurs, it’s essential to recognize and appreciate articles that adhere to ethical principles even while championing a cause. The Scientific American piece exemplifies this. It pushes an agenda, yes, but does so with respect for the tenets of honest journalism. 

The article in Scientific American is a representation of advocacy journalism done right. It takes a stance, makes its case with fervor, but ensures that it remains rooted in fact and ethics. In a world overwhelmed with misinformation, such examples remind us that it is entirely possible to advocate for change while upholding the integrity of journalism.

Related Posts

Illustration of Univision, the television network Jorge Ramos has worked for in the last four decades.

May 10, 2024

Opinion: Jorge Ramos’ Inability to Separate Journalism and Activism

Immigration policies and politics undermine the integrity of Jorge Ramos' journalism.

word art about being treated as human being

May 9, 2024

Opinion: Human Rights Watch is an Ethical Watchdog

Human Rights Watch shows that advocacy journalism can be ethical.