Me & William Blundell on journalistic ‘objectivity’

Originally posted on Casey Jaywork:

As a journalist who tries to write about things that matter, I occasionally get flack from folks who think I’m not being ‘objective’ enough. For example:

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Usually what these critics mean is that my angle is insufficiently flattering to their own worldview; accusing me of violating (what they take to be) one of the basic rules of journalism is easier than articulating, in a non-circular way, why I’m wrong.

But here’s the thing: objectivity doesn’t exist. Honesty does, in the sense of avoiding straw men and voicing the strongest articulations of both (or all) sides of a controversy. And accuracy does, in the sense of a correspondence between what I describe in my stories and what actually happens in the world. But objectivity? That’s nothing more than a rhetorical stance.

Here’s the beginning of my first Letter From the Editor at the Central Circuit:

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And here’s a selection from The Art…

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Three week recap: First Hill streets to get a makeover, contempt of the homeless is thinly veiled by hygiene concerns, and SPD protest tactics deepen mistrust of police


This overdue post brings you a smattering of recent projects that I’ve produced or worked on in some capacity:

  • My photography was published alongside several nimby stories in the January 14th issue of Real Change News: one on the ACLU condemned attempt by the City of Burien to criminalize poor hygiene, and the other regarding Ballard residents squawking at the prospect of having low-income or homeless people frequenting a under construction urban rest stop in the area. Both articles were written by RCN staff reporter Aaron Burkhalter.

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Protesters occupy intersection of Rainier ave south & Dearborn

#Blacklivesmatter protesters march to King County Youth Detention Center


On Saturday, January 10th, #Blacklivesmatter protesters calling for police accountability marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Youth Detention Center at 12th and Alder in the Central District. The march was organized by an activist group called Women of Color for Systemic Change, and remained entirely peaceful without arrests or other incidents. The march shut down several intersections along Rainier avenue south and elsewhere where protesters discussed broader institutional racism and more specific issues such as gentrification in Seattle and the proposed construction of a new 210 million dollar Youth Detention Center. Many bystanders raised their hands or fists in solidarity with the march. Below are photos taken at the event.

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Why Washington’s tax code is the worst


My interview with Marilyn Watkins – a Policy Director at the Economic Opportunity Institute – regarding Washington State’s regressive tax system.

Originally posted on The Central Circuit:

Tax policy 101 from an expert

By Josh Kelety

Originally published in the December 2014 issue.

Marilyn Watkins has been a Policy Director at the Economic Opportunity Institute for 15 years, and she knows a heck of alot about topics such as Washington State tax policy and gender pay equity issues. The Central Circuit called her up to get a run-down of Washington State’s highly regressive tax structure.

So where does our tax money go? What services are we all paying for?

The [state] general fund budget is what we are really talking about here … half of that goes to the K-12 public education system, roughly 10% goes to pay for the whole system of higher education including the community and technical colleges as well as the four year universities. There’s some social and human services, children services, health services for seniors, services for disabled people … and then…

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A city worker helps demolish a home along the Mampang river while local residents look on

Housing, class, and mass evictions in Jakarta


Below is an excerpt and photographs from an unfinished post written this past summer regarding Jakarta’s continuous infrastructure problems and forced eviction issues within the over-crowded city:

A 2006 Human Rights Watch report on government orchestrated forced evictions of Jakarta residents summed up the dynamic that has dictated the relationship between the city’s working urban poor and the government in one sentence: “One of the overarching themes in the history of Jakarta is the conflict between the desires of its rulers to create a model city to display to the world, and the desires of the poor of Indonesia to seek opportunities within it.”

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Among the Outsiders at Seattle’s #BlackLivesMatter Protests


Great piece by Casey Jaywork on the motives behind the local #Blacklivesmatter protests, Seattle racism, and SPD’s innate lack neutrality in this issue.

Originally posted on Casey Jaywork:


Michael Cook, a homeless man who wants police accountability.

“We’re protesting the militarization of the police,” says Michael Cook. He’s 40, homeless, and just finished delivering an impromptu speech to the small crowd that has been marching in circles around downtown for the past hour. “This situation with Michael Brown in Ferguson, and all these other types of situations where the police are getting blood on their hands and are walking away without a slap on the wrist—it’s ridiculous, man,” says Cook. “It’s ridiculous.

“Every person should be accountable for their own actions.”

The date is Monday, December 8. Early evening. Since droves of riot cops chased a handful of protesters off the street earlier, a second group has begun marching on the sidewalk, chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and similar refrains. A row of bike cops trundles down the road beside them, their rear wheels spitting up rainwater…

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Protesters occupy street on west side of Century Link field

Late post: #Blacklivesmatter protest at Seahawks game brings out Seattle’s underlying racism


“Black lives matter, and not just on the field.”

On Sunday December 14th, organizers of and supporters of the local #Blacklivesmatter movement took to Century Link field and stadium to not only protest systematic racism and police brutality at the popular and well attended Seahawks versus the SF 49er’s football game, but to also highlight the innate hypocrisy and racism present within the NFL and NFL fan bases. The protesters occupied the street adjacent to the stadium on its west side, and held a sit-in where numerous speakers spoke about the movement and racism in Seattle and America as a whole.

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Too little, too late


An article of mine published in the November 2014 issue of the Central Circuit on pay equity issues for Seattle Central College employees, as well as the under-funding of community colleges in general.

Originally posted on The Central Circuit:

Classified Staff Struggle with Pay Equity Issues

By Josh Kelety

Originally published in the November 2014 issue. 

Orson Williamson is the only facilities electrician at Seattle Central. In his words, he is “always putting out ‘fires’” on campus. One such fire was the flooding of several computer labs on the third floor of the Broadway Edison building on Friday October 18th, due to busted piping. The water damage was extensive. The power had to be shut off, the water removed, and computer servers dried out and tested for functionality before the coming Monday, when students would need access to the labs. The epitome of a royal mess.

For Williamson, dealing with situations like the flood are just a day in the life. “Those [kinds of] issues come up all the time,” he said.

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SPD appropriates my footage, uses it to justify harsh response to protests


UPDATE: Youtube has removed SPD’s copied version of my video via a successful copyright infringement complaint.

On December 7th I compiled photographs, video, and written documentation of the incidents that occurred during the previous night of December 6th, when primarily peaceful protesters marching on the streets against police brutality, racial profiling, and institutional racism, were frequently harassed and intimidated by officers of the Seattle Police Department, eventually resulting in 7 arrests. My report highlighted SPD’s frequent use of force against protesters and showed how it substantially escalated the situation rather than the opposite.


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