Introduction to Journalism
Journalism can be defined as an act of writing news related themes for print and non-print media. It also involves a complex process of taking information, sieving, and placing it into context. A journalist is always faced with the burden of telling the truth.
Journalism serves as the watchdog and whistleblower for society. It combines everything from “hard news” to politics, public affairs, softer news (human interest and celebrity stories). In other words, journalism is also a source of entertainment. And most importantly, modern journalism also gives lifestyle messages, medical updates, education, and more.
Before anything can be published as newsprint or read from a telecast, it must go through the hands of an individual –the journalist. Journalistic writing is very different from other forms of writing; this is why a journalist must have gone through a formal education system for their profession. Several steps of journalism begin with gathering news from different sources and end with sharing the same through various channels.
The majority of people across the globe rely on journalism for information. This is because it acts as the eyes and ears of an average person. Without journalism, the world would be without a mouthpiece for the governed. Governments or individuals would embezzle funds, and no one would know. One thing to note is that journalism has been on a rampant expansion over the past few decades. The biggest question, however, remains about what type of people is journalists. Research shows that the majority of journalists today are white makes, and it has been so since the 1970s. Even though many media outlets claim to focus on diversity, there is still a huge gap. Again, a journalist must have a specific set of skills, first an education in journalism, and then the ability to write excellent, or otherwise a nose for news. Hence, a journalism student must understand what the course is all about.
A good journalist must not only practice how to create words into an engaging, intriguing, and thought-provoking idea, but they must also understand what type of information can be considered news. News is defined as a retelling of an event, an event, or a fact that will pull people interest. It is usually about a recent incident and tries to avoid libel and slander on other people. A piece of information is not news unless it meets several conditions:
- If the events occur closest to the recipient.
Such information becomes of the most significant interest to the people. Other happenings in other parts of the world tend to be of little relevance in their daily lives.
- If the information is about well-known people.
For instance, if a piece of information is referring to the recent events about a political leader in a community, such would be of great interest to the said community. Hence, such information is noteworthy and newsworthy. It may or may not impact directly to the trials and tribulations, or successes and failures of the person’s daily life, and it creates a great distraction for the monotony of their daily activities.
- Stories with conflict.
Conflict is always a source of debate and discussion. As such, a story that involves conflicting ideas or individuals may captivate an audience.
- A recent event.
When a story such as a gulf oil spill goes on for many days, people begin to lose. Today's news revolves around a 24-hours cycle. Besides, today more people rely on audio and video than print; therefore, there is a lot of information to go around.
News can either be in the form of print media or broadcast media. This means it can either be written for the audience to read to themselves, or spoken for the audience to listen. And news is the backbone of journalism; without news, there is not journalism.
Types of print media
Print journalism is the oldest form of the industry. It was already around decades before motion pictures were invented. Besides, journalism is all about writing interesting stories that can be read by or for the audience. Hence, is it vital for a beginning journalist to understand the various types of print. The three main divisions are;
Like the international weekly, Sunday edition, national, and many others.
These are separated to form another broad category of print media. They cater for different ages and subjects ranging from business, the arts, teen fashions, and many others. Magazines are usually printed on glossy paper with lots of colors and illustrations. They are designed for entertainment reading, except those intended to deliver hard-hitting news. Besides, they come after a certain period and offer educational information.
Book date back to the earliest days. They are the largest form of print media and cover different topics on a more extensive scale. Books offer a better view of the beginnings of journalism and writing before the invention of the printing press.
What characteristics make a journalist?
First, journalists are considered a special breed of people. They have a set of skills that no other individual do, perhaps a common fascination shared by all is the printed word. All journalists love playing with words for their edification as well as professional purpose.
Journalists are professional and very cautious and conscious. They always tend to check their sources, wording, quotes, and even spelling. They are required to adhere to journalistic standards and ethics. They make mistakes, but they always know how to come back. They always abide by deadlines, datelines, and bylines and they give credit to their sources. Journalists report without fear or bias on the developing stories. This is perhaps the reason becoming a journalist may be hard than many think.
Journalism is one of the backbones of modern society. It has been serving generations, as the watchdogs and whistleblowers, ensuring balance in e every aspect of human existence. Even though technology has changed things today – with the introduction of social media and the internet, the essence of journalism remains the same. For a beginning journalist, it is critical to understand all the aspects of the industry. Note that journalism touches almost every area of society; hence it is one of the most important subjects in the world.
Author: James Hamilton