WHAT IS JOURNALISM?
Journalism is the collection, preparation and distribution of news, articles via print, electronic media like newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, webcasts, podcasts, social networking, and also by radio, television and in the past newsreels etc. Journalism is the creation and distribution of news, reports on current or past events. It refers to the occupation where journalists, people who do journalism create, gather and publish news material relating to a specific event, happening or phenomenon.
In today’s world of incidents, happenings and active hustle-bustle, people feel the need to stay aware and informed about everything happening around them. Without updated information with everyone in this world, life will not stay balanced and things may start to become confusing. So we see a very important and active need of journalism and journalists to do their job of dissemination of news and information to bind the world in a network and establish a connection between everyone so that no one is left behind in knowing what’s happening in their neighbourhood, society, state, country, the world finally.
The concept of journalism and its appropriate role may vary in different countries. In some nations, the news media are controlled by the government being not fully independent while in other nations news media are independent but operate as a private industry having profit motives. The media organizations may be run and funded in various ways and different countries may have different laws and ways to handle journalistic practices.
The coming of the internet and smartphones has brought visible changes to the landscape of media. Because of which there has been a shift in the traditional consumption ways of news via the print media channels as people are increasingly getting news through e-readers, smartphone apps and other such personal electronic devices as opposed to the older formats of newspapers, magazines, television and radios. Now news organizations are in a dilemma about fully monetizing their digital wing and changing the ways in which they publish news material in print. The print revenues are going down or sinking at a faster pace than the growth rate of digital revenues.
In today’s era of communication and technology, people want to stay ahead and abreast in knowing things and keeping self updated and so it is the role of journalism to spread and communicate about happenings going around us. Today journalism stands as a useful, sought-after, prestigious profession and also as a challenging career option. Journalists are key players who play a very revolutionizing and important role in the development and progress of a society and nation. The purpose of journalism is to inform, educate, and enlighten masses on core, burning issues as well as everyday events and happenings. Now various opportunities are available for people pursuing this field and straightforward reporting of events is just not sufficient as more specialization is needed in journalistic practices in various areas of life and parts of the world.
A journalist is a very important person as he takes us ahead in this world by leaps and bounds making us touch the pinnacle of progress and lets us see the clearer, brighter picture of life, various colors of it and the wonder in its true sense that is life. It is a very lucrative, beneficial, worthy and important profession to take up and it really matters a lot to be a journalist amongst others.
FORMS OF JOURNALISM
There are various forms of journalism. Journalism is said to be the ‘fourth estate’ which acts as a watchdog on the workings of the government. A single publication like a newspaper has many forms of journalism each of which can be presented in different formats. Some of which are---
1. ACCESS JOURNALISM-In this form, journalists self-censor and voluntarily cease to speak about issues that may embarrass their host, guest or powerful politicians or businesspersons.
2. ADVOCACY JOURNALISM-It is journalism where journalists write to advocate particular viewpoints or influence the opinion of the audience.
3. BROADCAST JOURNALISM-It is the written or spoken form of journalism for radio or television.
4. CITIZEN JOURNALISM OR PARTICIPATORY JOURNALISM-It is the collection, dissemination and analysis of news and information by the general public especially by means of the internet.
5. DATA JOURNALISM-It is the journalism of finding stories in numbers and using numbers to tell stories. Data journalists may use data to support their reporting and also report about uses and misuses of data. The US news organization PROPUBLICA is known as a pioneer of data journalism.
6. DRONE JOURNALISM-It is the use of drones to capture journalistic footage.
7. GONZO JOURNALISM-It was introduced by Hunter S. Thompson and is a highly personal style of reporting.
8. INTERACTIVE JOURNALISM-A type of online journalism that is presented via web.
9. INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM-It is a form of in-depth reporting that focuses on social problems.
10. PHOTOJOURNALISM-The practice of telling true stories through images.
11. SENSOR JOURNALISM-The journalism which uses sensors to support journalistic findings and inquiry.
12. TABLOID JOURNALISM-A light-hearted and entertaining form of journalism.
13. YELLOW JOURNALISM OR SENSATIONALISM-It is a form of journalism that does not emphasize on legitimate and well-researched news using instead eye-catching headlines for increased sales. It’s techniques include exaggeration of news events, scandal-mongering or sensationalism.
14. GLOBAL JOURNALISM-It is journalism that encompasses a global outlook and focuses on intercontinental issues.
THE DIGITAL AGE
The role and status of journalism and mass media has seen changes in the past two decades together with the advancement of digital technology and publication of news on the internet. It has created a shift in the consumption of news via print media channels as people now increasingly consume news through e-readers, smartphones and other electronic devices. The digital era also ushered journalism in which ordinary citizens play a big role bringing in the rise of citizen journalism through the internet. Today active citizens use video camera equipped smartphones to record footage of news events and upload them onto channels like YouTube often used by mainstream news media outlets.
PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL STANDARDS
Some codes of ethics of journalism include truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability. Journalism’s first loyalty is to the citizens and they must tell the truth serving as an independent monitor of powerful individuals and institutions of the society. The essence of journalism is to give reliable information to the citizens unbiased and verifiable. Journalists should respect people’s privacy and ensure accuracy. There are over 242 codes of ethics in journalism that vary across various regions of the world. These codes of ethics are made by an interaction of different groups of people like the public and journalists.
Most of the codes of ethics represent the economic and political beliefs of the society where the code was written. The core elements of the codes are remaining objective, giving truth-coated news bytes and being honest. Journalism does not have a universal code of conduct and individuals are not obliged legally to follow a certain set of rules like a doctor or a lawyer does.
But there have been discussions for creating one having three parameters, credibility, justifiable consequence and claim of humanity. Under credibility journalists are expected to give to the public reliable and trustworthy information allowing the public to question the nature of information and its acquisition. Under the second point, justifiable consequence, journalistic ethics centers on weighing the pros and cons of a potentially harmful story and acting accordingly. An example of it is exposing a professional with dubious practices, on the other hand acting within justifiable consequence is writing compassionately about a family in mourning. The third claim is the claim of humanity which states that journalists are writing for a global population and so must serve everyone globally in their work.
Different governments have differing policies and practices towards journalists which control what they can research and write and what all press organizations can publish. Some governments guarantee freedom of press while other nations severely restrict what journalists can research or publish. Many journalists in many nations have certain privileges that members of the general public do not include better access to public events, crime scenes and press conferences and interviews with public officials, celebrities etc.
RIGHT TO PROTECT CONFIDENTIALITY OF SOURCES
The journalists sometimes interact with sources which involves confidentiality which is an extension of freedom of the press giving journalists a legal protection to keep the identity of a confidential informant private even when demanded by police or prosecutors and giving the source away can land journalists in contempt of court or jail.
JOURNALISM ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
For a bachelor degree in journalism, the minimum eligibility criteria is a 10+2 certificate and for the post graduate degree course,a graduate degree in journalism is required. There are also courses in specialized areas of journalism like sports, television, photo, press law. But we should know that no completion of any course can certify us as a qualified journalist. These courses can only educate persons in technical aspects. A proper journalist will need a curiosity, a nose for news in addition to an ability to write and produce news stories in an appealing style.
PERSONAL QUALITIES OF A JOURNALIST
Certain traits and attributes that will be needed for a journalist are a curious mind, strength of opinion, unbiased views, an aptitude for presenting information in a precise and effective manner. One also needs to synchronize thoughts and express them clearly in both verbal and written forms. A proper journalist takes note of only the relevant information and does not beat around the bush, writes news that is of value. He or she should also be strong in raising voice over an issue and taking some brickbats too.
JOURNALISM BROAD CATEGORY
Journalism is broadly divided into two categories:-Print and Electronic.
Journalism in the print category revolves around newspapers, journals, magazines, news agencies etc. And journalism through the electronic medium consists of television, radio and new media, internet.
CAREER OPTIONS IN PRINT MEDIA
1.Reporter-If you opt for this option as a reporter of a newspaper, magazine, news agency, radio or television channel, your job will be to report with speed, clarity, accuracy the relevant, important and breaking news without creating unnecessary hype through words and giving the news that will matter.
2.Correspondent/Special Reporter-To be a reporter for a special purpose you need to have thorough knowledge in a particular field like politics, sports etc. You must also have the ability to read between the lines.
3.Leader Writer-Here you need to give your views on news topics through editorial columns only.
4.Feature Writer-A feature writer’s job revolves around writing in-depth stories and opinions, observations on certain topics.
5.Proof Reader-Here the role of the proof reader is to evaluate and compare proofs with the edited copy. Here the skills of grammar, spelling and punctuation come into play.
6.Editor-As an editor who is the head of the department you have to ensure uniformity and continuity, complete and timely submission of articles without any flaws whatsoever.And not to forget the newspaper has to be eye-catching and detailed.
7.Columnist-As a columnist you have to write for a particular segment in the newspaper or magazine. Your column will showcase your viewpoint on a topic and should be free from personal bias.
8.Photo Journalist-As a photojournalist or visual reporter you must be able to take pictures which will represent your news-story and you should be willing to work being strong willed and in any situation. You should also know how to write appropriate captions and have knowledge of the technical aspect of photography.
9.Cartoonist-In this position you need to doodle and draw artistically humorous pictures representing any real-life situation or personality in a satirical manner.
JOURNALISM CAREER OPTIONS IN ELECTRONIC MEDIA
1.Researchers-A researcher’s job revolves around doing work for a channel or a site. To be a researcher you must be creative and inquisitive.
2.Broadcast Reporters-At this position you must have a good communication and presentation skill with some nose for news.
3.Presenters-And in this position you need to have good communication skills, command over speech, diction and language, general knowledge, intelligence and ability to put in lot of hard work. The presenter should also have a control over words and a good facial expression to convey the right tone of the news.
THE NEW MEDIA-WEB MEDIA
Internet is a global electronic community which connects millions of people to interact, share and know about each other’s viewpoints. It does it’s work well by providing updated news content at no cost. A web journalist here has to make sharp and interesting news material which should be totally edited and presentable. The web journalist should also write eye-catching captions with clarity, fun elements and a distinct likeable style.
SALARY OF A JOURNALIST
The salary of a journalist has competent growth potential. You can expect a start-off salary of Rs.6000-Rs.10000 as a trainee. And later as a reporter you can expect to make Rs.12000-Rs.18000. Editors take home a salary of Rs.20000-Rs.35000 along with additional perks.
LIST OF COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES GIVING JOURNALISM COURSES
1.Indian Institute of Mass Communication(IIMC)
2.AJK Mass Communication Research Centre
3.National Institute for Media Studies(NIMS)
4.Amity School of Journalism and Communication
5.Asian Academy of film and television
6. Sardar Patel College of communication and management,New Delhi
7.Times School of Journalism
8.Indira Gandhi National Open University
9.Kamla Nehru college,DU.
10.YMCA Centre for mass media
PURPOSE OF JOURNALISM
Purpose of journalism written by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in the book,’The elements of journalism’ is not defined or dictated by technology, journalists or the employed techniques by them. The principles and purpose of journalism are defined by the basic fact that news plays a very important function in the lives of people. News is that part of communication which keeps us informed of changing events, issues and happenings of the world. The core value of news is that it empowers and informs the people giving them awareness and power to lead their lives correctly and make smart choices and decisions in their lives.
WHAT DOES JOURNALISM EXPLAIN
Journalism is a form of writing that tells people about things that really happened but about which they may not have known already.
FORMS OF JOURNALISM
Journalism comes in several different forms:-1.NEWS
1.Breaking news-Telling about an event as it happens.
2.Feature stories-A detailed overview of a news piece that’s not breaking news.
3.Enterprise or investigative stories-Stories that give information that few people know.
1.Editorials-Unsigned articles that express the opinion of a publication.
2.Columns-Signed articles that express the writer’s observation and conclusions.
3.Reviews-Write-ups of concerts, restaurants or movies.
1.Blogs-Online diaries of individuals or small groups.
2.Discussion boards-Online question and answer pages where participation is voluntary and open to all.
3.Wikis-Articles that any reader can add to or change.
The best journalism is easy to read and comprehend,gives total updated information and is complete in ethics and all code of conducts to be followed in a piece of writing.
You get the facts for your story by reporting. There are three main ways to gather information for a news story or opinion piece---
1.Interviews-It’s interacting with people who know things about the story you are reporting.
2.Observation-It’s being at the place of happening of an incident, watching, listening at the place where news is taking place.
3.Documents-Reading stories, reports, public records and other printed material.
The people or documents you use when reporting a story are called the ‘sources'. In your story you always tell your readers about the sources that you have used. When interviewing someone, observing something or reading about something you should want to write down about the 5 W’s about that source---
1.Who are they?
2.What were they doing?
3.Where were they doing it?
4.When they do it?
5.Why did they do it?
Many good reporters got their start by keeping a diary.
These are the keys to writing good journalism:-
1.Get all the facts that you can.
2.Tell your readers where you got every bit of information you put in your story.
3.Don’t try to write fancy and keep things clear.
Start your story with the most important thing that happened in your story. It is called your ‘lead'. It should be the summary of your whole story in a sentence. From there, add details that explain or illustrate the thing that’s going on. You may need to start with some background or set the scene with details of your observation and then write the story like you were telling it to a friend. Start with what’s most important then add background or needed details.
While writing journalism your paragraphs will be shorter than you are used to in classroom writing. Every time you introduce a new source or a new point you can start a new paragraph.
Whenever you quote someone’s exact words you will put them in quotation marks and provide ‘attribution’ at the end of the quote.