Why Being Biased and Unbalanced Was the Only Way to Be Fair and Factual (Session)

July 20, 2023

Craft & Writing Skills, Journalism

In journalism, impartiality has always been paramount.

The thinking was: if you reveal your biases, audiences will never see you as an objective arbiter of the truth. But as trust in institutions plummets worldwide—especially trust in the media—might some uncomfortable honesty about who you are be the only way forward?

In this keynote, filmmaker Alex Liu will tell the story of his seven-year journey making a sex education documentary. You’ll hear why in the end, there was no other way to get audiences to think critically about a taboo, culturally-divisive topic than through his subjective first-person lens.

You’ll walk away with a framework to know when personal biases might actually help audiences understand a topic better—as long as you can be empathetic to all sides.

This is a recording of a keynote originally presented at ASJA’s 2022 Fall Conference.

Alex’s passion for telling compelling stories that blend education, advocacy, and entertainment led him to found Herra Productions in 2012. Since then, he’s developed two award-winning YouTube channels focused on sex and drug education, totaling over five million views. After studying molecular toxicology at UC Berkeley and Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting at New York University, he produced video, radio, and print content for NOVA scienceNOW, CNN Health, and San Francisco NPR station KQED. His 2001 documentary, A Sexplanation, explores comprehensive sex education in the U.S.






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