by Tori Stilwell ’12

Early on in their careers, many journalists learn a tenet they’re expected to carry with them until the end: Never compromise your objectivity.

Objectivity lends us the ability to understand from all sides, to seek out the opposition to any opinion, to listen before coming to a conclusion.

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At a time when our nation is increasingly polarized by politics, objectivity and tolerance for the different have never been more important.

Many Americans are frustrated, and it’s easy to see why.  The aftershocks of the recession that ended almost seven years ago are still felt daily by people who lost their careers, their homes, and their financial independence. They’ve watched as income inequality has worsened and their wages have stagnated. In some cases they’ve carried the heavy burden of student debt, only to settle for a job that doesn’t require their degree because they can’t find anything better.

As fortunate recipients of the Morehead-Cain, we’ve been somewhat sheltered from many of the harsher realities that so many Americans face.  We receive a world-class education, have experiences many students only dream of and form bonds with our peers that will ultimately turn into valuable networks – all without taking on student loans.

It’s an incredible opportunity that should never be taken for granted.

We’ve also been given all of the tools needed to keep our minds open at a time when our country needs it the most. Being objective doesn’t have to mean abandoning your principles or opinions. What it often requires, however, is surrounding yourself with people who have a multitude of backgrounds and experiences, with those who think differently than you. It means examining your beliefs and exploring the other side of the story.

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That’s not always an easy task, as social media and cable television have made it simpler than ever to filter out worldviews that differ from our own. Still, it’s one we should not only strive to undertake but also learn to cherish. In this way, we can best help ourselves and others live with purpose and with promise.


Tori Stilwell reports on U.S. economics for Bloomberg News and co-hosts the Benchmark podcast. She can be found on Twitter at @toristilwell.