I chose to be journalist because I wanted to make a difference in the world. Of course, I was also drawn by the excitement of investigating a story and interviewing fascinating people. But most of all, I saw the profession as a way to help all of us gain greater knowledge about the world, and expand our horizons to overcome bias and prejudice.
Yet as I developed my career, I realized I wasn’t doing this as much as I wanted. I would take pains to ensure a piece was accurate, nuanced and balanced, and sometimes an editor would rearrange the piece to make it more dramatic, sensational or entertaining.
There wasn’t much I could do; if that’s how an outlet wanted a story, that’s how it ran. There was also my own bias, and although I wasn’t fully aware of it back then, I knew it was affecting my objectivity. I imagined a media outlet where that wouldn’t happen.
At the same time, quite a distance away from me, Rosa Laura Junco was having a similar experience. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, she had spent years at her family’s company Grupo Reforma, which is the largest print media outlet in the country.
In the 1990s, Rosa had witnessed her father use the power of media to help transform a nation of one-party rule into a democracy. That had inspired her. Now, she was watching U.S. media outlets grow more biased, and she believed this was inhibiting democracy and societal progress. Something had to be done.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Rosa and I have launched The Knife Media, a news source that has the mission we had envisioned – giving people data-based information. “Having access to objective, accurate information can catapult society towards progress, and that’s what The Knife Media is about,” says Junco, the company’s CEO.
Objective, unbiased news
We wanted to publish news that minimized bias and didn’t have sensationalism. We realized this might go against the grain in the news industry, but we thought people deserved more objectivity in the news.
We saw that there wasn’t enough reporting like this, and the bias in much of our news coverage was contributing to greater polarization and partisanship in our communities. We wanted to give people just the facts.
Now, we are. The Knife Media has a process to strip the news of spin, and give readers the unadulterated facts of any story. We believe this is what our country needs to navigate a media environment increasingly affected by bias.
We also use a set of standards to rate traditional media outlets on their level of objectivity and provide analysis that helps people understand distortion in news coverage. In other words, we quantify how objective or biased each news outlet is, so people can know the quality of the information they consume.
Critical thinking muscles
Our goal is to help people be better informed and help them exercise their critical thinking muscles. We believe this can empower people to make effective decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.
Unfortunately, our society doesn’t emphasize critical thinking skills enough. We love the entertainment of click-bait headlines, we’re susceptible to “fake news” and our media outlets are often influenced by commercial interests.
People don’t always learn skills of logic and critical thinking; even if they do, it takes proactive practice to maintain and use them when much of the information around us is biased.
If you want to read objective news on immigration, how do you know which news outlet is least biased? If you want just the facts on a complex issue like health care, where do you go? You may perceive bias in the coverage of Donald Trump – in both conservative and liberal outlets – but how can you know precisely what it is and where it’s coming from? The Knife Media helps you do that.
Seeing our own bias
The work has certainly had that effect on me. I didn’t know just how often I consumed information with spin, bias or questionable logic, and didn’t realize it.
I also didn’t notice just how often we as people included bias and spin in our own personal communication. That often affects reporters’ ability to separate themselves from their own biases and beliefs and deliver news that is as close as possible to objective.
When we’re able to expose and dissect these things, not only can we be better informed, but we can also become sharper thinkers. We can have this experience when we read about anything: from Trump to terrorism to technology. It even helps us see our own bias when we communicate in our personal lives.
The Knife is a revolution in the way we think about and understand our world, and it can transform how you experience the news.