I fully agree with Carol Beck. The documentary-maker is not he subject, even
though her/his point of view may be subjective. No matter how one looks at
it (it seems to me), even when one is doing a autobiographical work, the
teller is a mediator. It is my own view that s/he is always a subjective
mediator and that the chief choice is whether to admit it or not and how to
deal with that subjectivity. I especially like Carol Beck's point about
the intrusion into the life of and exploitation of the subject. The people
about whom one is reporting should never become just means to an end.
If we are to have a "humanistic journalism" what should be the teller's
position in relationship to the subject and the audience? That seems to me to
be the core question for redefining journalism, preferably redefining it out of
the old "objectivivity" vs. "subjectivity" quagmire.
This is of particular interest to me because I am teaching a workshop this
summer that seeks to explore new directions for radio journalism. I'd welcome
comments from others in response to the question posed near the end of the
previous paragraph. They may prove useful for discussion this summer.