The problem that may not be impacted directly by the sort of shift in style underway at AP is the problem of too little serious investigative reporting being done and being published. There are not enough serious reporters, they are not well enough funded, and their work is not printed, aired, and broadcast. That problem won't be fixed by a change in style, and could be worsened if the change in style is misinterpreted as somehow fixing the problem. In the long-run, however, the change in style could result in a different awareness by readers that would create a serious demand for more research and investigation.
Now, the change underway at the Associated Press is probably quite shallow. AP editors and reporters no doubt continue to believe in the old distinction between "objectivity" and "opinion" as well as the partisan pretense that every "issue" has two and only two "positions". They've just decided to add some "opinion" into their "objective" articles. They see this as allowing them to do some things that I agree are important, such as reporting that a president has lied. But the fact that a president has lied is not actually any less a fact than the fact that it's expected to rain on Tuesday or the fact that the Redskins played poor defense on Sunday. That reporting such a fact is seen as adding opinion to a story is simply an indication that what has always counted as "objectivity" has actually been a set of biases slanted very heavily and strictly in favor of those in power.
The AP (and other wire services and newspapers) can, however, be part of a process of positive change in American reporting without having any idea what they are part of. If American journalism drops the nameless from-on-high article in favor of the personalized report from someone with a name and identity, readers (and viewers) may become more questioning and aware, less lazy and accepting. And once it becomes clear to readers that they are getting their news from people they fundamentally disagree with, readers (and viewers) may insist on other sources of news. This is happening even where individuals are now permitted to wear two hats, that of "opinion" columnist and that of "objective" reporter. Readers may eventually even insist on more substantive investigative reporting. That would truly bring about what Fournier calls "accountability journalism."
So, the change may be shallow at first. And we should remember that even if the "objectivity" pretense is eradicated there will always remain 1,001 other ways to be dishonest. But it is creative new online journalism that is driving the changes we're seeing, and if those changes lead us finally to give serious support to independent journalism, we will then see deep and meaningful change in our public communications.
"Why it Takes Years to Spot Fiction in the AP"