Season 3, Ep 10: All Sides of the Story: Alice Sheehan on Media Neutrality

“Our goal is to reveal bias, not to tell you what to think,” says today’s guest Alice Sheehan, CEO and CFO of AllSides, an organization focused on strengthening our democracy with balanced news, media bias ratings and real conversations. On today’s episode of Women Igniting Change, she talks with host Robbin Jorgensen about AllSides’ mission to move away from the old ‘Ministry of Truth’ style news to bring people credible and unbiased news. She talks about the value of feedback, and the importance of diversity in all aspects of life. 


She explains the various types of news bias, including the one that can make family members gathered around the dinner table feel like they are living on different planets. For its part, AllSides is working to draw people back toward civil discourse. Alongside the organization Living Room Conversations, it’s launched Mismatch, an initiative to help students in school learn how to have productive dialog with people with whom they disagree. Alice talks about the further impact AllSides has had in schools, particularly in light of the recent push toward including digital literacy in classroom curriculum. 


Alice joined AllSides looking for a new sense of purpose. Her career is an example to so many women who are afraid to pivot: when change is calling you, don’t be afraid to answer. 



  • “Back in college, I had taken a vocations class and they had introduced me to this idea of asking yourself three questions: What are you good at? What makes you happy? What does the world need?’ And if you can find something that’s in the intersection of those three questions, that’s the sweet spot.” (2:09 | Alice Sheehan)
  • “It’s all about how we define ourselves as humans, which is in a multitude of ways. It’s race, it’s gender, it’s age, socioeconomic status, where I grew up, what the composition of my family was. All of that goes into perspective, and some of our perspective gets defined as politics, but a lot of it doesn’t have anything to do with politics.” (10:15 | Alice Sheehan) 
  • “Credibility changes constantly with any outlet. So, they might get one story really right and they might get one story really, really wrong and print a retraction, or maybe they never do. And that happens across the board. Whereas we find that bias is more consistent. So, we have consistently focused on bias. Where we get a lot of feedback is people want us to focus on credibility.” (13:56 | Alice Sheehan)
  • “We see this a lot, actually, in our current context where the Right-leaning sources will really focus on a story that the Left won’t even mention. And the Left-leaning sources will focus on a story that the Right won’t even mention. And so then when people are talking to each other at their dinner table at Thanksgiving, it’s like they’re in two different worlds.” (17:59 | Alice Sheehan)