Who is holding journalism accountable?

The Objective

We are a collective of reporters who firmly believe in the power of journalism. We also believe in its ability to change for the better, to cover marginalized communities more deeply and to make newsrooms more open to people from those communities. Our work is written by and for people underrepresented in news leadership.

Major American newsrooms have for generations called themselves objective. But coverage at these outlets, at all points in time, has always been subjectively defined by homogenous newsrooms. To that end, we publish reporting, first-person commentary, and reported essays on how journalism has misrepresented or excluded specific communities in coverage, as well as how newsrooms have treated staff from those communities. 

The history is right in front of us. Editors at The New York Times initially refused to print the word “gay” in paper and intentionally ignored covering the AIDS crisis. The Washington Post hired its first Black journalist in 1952 (he left after two years). And the Los Angeles Times’s Editor-in-Chief, in 2020, admitted that the paper “fomented the hysteria that led to Japanese American incarceration, the Zoot Suit Riots, redlining and racial covenants.”

Every other Friday, we publish The Front Page, a newsletter covering the steps forward and backward newsrooms have taken to make journalism a more equitable field. You can subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter below.

Who We Are

We are an all-volunteer collective, several of us with full-time jobs outside of this work. But we believe this kind of coverage is not an occasional way to cover journalism, but the focal point. Our articles and writers have been featured by NPR, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, Poynter, CNN, the BBC, WBUR, and other outlets.

You can see our masthead here.

If you have questions, you can reach us at questions@objectivejournalism.org

Our Advisory Board

In order to offer feedback and advice on our direction, The Objective is creating an advisory board of journalists and advocates in order to better pursue our mission. As of now, this includes:

  • Hanaa’ Tameez is a staff writer for Nieman Lab where she covers journalism innovation. She was previously the diversity reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram covering marginalized communities in Tarrant County, Texas. Her work has appeared in The Juggernaut, The Wall Street Journal, Americas Quarterly, and others.

  • Tanvi Misra is a writer and multimedia journalist based in Washington DC. Her work has appeared in CQ Roll Call, The Atlantic, Bloomberg CityLab, The Fuller Project, NPR, and the BBC. She covers issues relating to migration, justice, and urbanism.

  • Adriana Lacy is a senior associate for audience and growth at Axios and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Southern California. She’s also the founded of journalism mentors, a website dedicated to fostering the next generation of journalists through mentoring and paid internship listings.

  • Mohamed Al Elew is a data reporter for Reveal from The Center of Investigative Reporting. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University of California San Diego, where he was a research scholar at the Data Science Institute and served as editor-in-chief of The Triton, the school’s independent student newsroom. 

Editorial Independence Policy

While we accept donations and support from individuals and organizations, our editorial direction is defined internally. As such, there is a firewall between money accepted by The Objective and the specific stories and articles we publish. 

The Objective may accept financial support for reporting on specific topics or coverage areas, but we determine what the coverage looks like and retain full rights to and editorial control of stories. 

Quotes or paragraphs may be shared with sources for accuracy, but we never share full stories with anyone outside of our organization prior to publication. 

We maintain a public list of all donors that give more than $1,000 in a year. We do not accept donations from political parties. If you would like to discuss a major gift, please contact us at questions@objectivejournalism.org.

Acknowledgement: The Objective created this policy in accordance with standards developed by the Institute for Nonprofit News, with additional foundation from the editorial independence policies and guidelines of The Trace.

How To Pitch Us

Please submit your pitches to submissions@objectivejournalism.org.

We’re an all-volunteer collective of writers. We don’t currently pay and all editing is done on a volunteer basis.

Emails should include “Pitch: [Proposed Headline]” in the subject line. Please also include:

  • What: What is your piece about? Keep us interested, but keep the pitch short.

  • Who: Who do you expect to interview (if anyone)?

  • When: How long do you expect writing and interviews to take? When can you send us a draft?

  • Why: Why are you the best person to write this piece?

  • The Fixings: How many words do you expect your piece to be? Who do you expect to interview (if anyone)? Please also include short bio and (a maximum of three) relevant examples of previous work.