Journalism is the production and the distribution of reports on recent
events. The word journalism applies to the occupation (professional or
not), the methods of gathering information, and the organizing
literary styles. Journalistic media include: print, television, radio,
Internet, and, in the past, newsreels.
Concepts of the appropriate role for journalism vary between
countries. In some nations, the news media is controlled by a
government intervention, and is not a fully independent body. In
others, the news media is independent from the government but the
profit motive is in tension with constitutional protections of freedom
of the press. Access to freely available information gathered by
independent and competing journalistic enterprises with transparent
editorial standards can enable citizens to effectively participate in
the political process. In the United States, journalism is protected
by the freedom of the press clause in the First Amendment.
The role and status of journalism, along with that of the mass media,
has undergone changes over the last two decades, together with the
advancement of digital technology and publication of news on the
Internet. This has created a shift in the consumption of print
media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers,
smartphones, and other electronic devices.
News organizations are
challenged to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise
on the context in which they publish news in print. Newspapers have
seen print revenues sink at a faster pace than the rate of growth for
digital revenues. Notably, in the American media landscape,
newsrooms have reduced their staff and coverage as traditional media
channels, such as television, grapple with declining audiences. For
example, between 2007 and 2012, CNN edited its story packages into
nearly half of their original time length.
This compactness in coverage has been linked to broad audience
attrition, as a large majority of respondents in recent studies show
changing preferences in news consumption. According to the Pew
Research Center, the circulation for U.S. newspapers has fallen
sharply in the 21st century. The digital era has also ushered in a
new kind of journalism in which ordinary citizens play a greater role
in the process of news making, with the rise of citizen journalism
being possible through the Internet. Using video camera equipped
smartphones, active citizens are now enabled to record footage of news
events and upload them onto channels like YouTube, which is often
discovered and used by mainstream news media outlets. Meanwhile, easy
access to news from a variety of online sources, like blogs and other
social media, has resulted in readers being able to pick from a wider
choice of official and unofficial sources, instead of only from
traditional media organizations.
5 Professional and ethical standards
5.1 Failing to uphold standards
6 Legal status
6.1 Right to protect confidentiality of sources
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
Journalistic conventions vary by country. In the United States,
journalism is produced by media organizations or by individuals.
Bloggers are often, but not always, journalists. The Federal Trade
Commission requires that bloggers who receive free promotional gifts,
then write about products, must disclose that they received the
products free. This is to eliminate conflicts of interest and protect
"Fake news" is information distributed which is deliberately not
truthful or is produced by unreliable organizations.
Fake news is
easily spread on social media such as fake news websites. Readers can
determine fake news by evaluating whether the news has been published
by a credible news organization. In the US, a credible news
organization is an incorporated entity; has an editorial board; and
has a clear division between editorial and advertising departments.
Credible news organizations, or their employees, belong to one or more
professional organizations such as the American Society of News
Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative
Reporters & Editors, or the Online
News Association. All of these
organizations have codes of ethics that members abide by. Many news
organizations have their own codes of ethics that guide journalists'
professional publications. The
New York Times
New York Times code of standards and
ethics is considered particularly rigorous.
When they write stories, journalists are concerned with issues of
objectivity and bias. Some types of stories are intended to represent
the author's own opinion; other types of stories are intended to be
more neutral or balanced. In a physical newspaper, information is
organized into sections and it is easy to see which stories are
supposed to be opinion and which are supposed to be neutral. Online,
many of these distinctions break down. Readers should pay careful
attention to headings and other design elements to ensure that they
understand the journalist's intent. Opinion pieces generally are
written by regular columnists or appear in a section titled "Op-ed."
Feature stories, breaking news, and hard news stories are generally
not opinion pieces.
According to Robert McChesney, healthy journalism in a democratic
country must provide an opinion of people in power and who wish to be
in power, must produce the range of opinions and must regard the
informational needs of all people.
Many debates center on whether journalists are "supposed" to be
"objective" or "neutral." Journalists are people who produce news out
of and as part of a particular social context. They are guided by
professional codes of ethics and do their best to represent all
legitimate points of view.
There are several different forms of journalism, all with diverse
Journalism is said to serve the role of a "fourth estate",
acting as a watchdog on the workings of the government. A single
publication (such as a newspaper) contains many forms of journalism,
each of which may be presented in different formats. Each section of a
newspaper, magazine, or website may cater to different
Photojournalists photographing President Barack Obama of the USA in
Photo and broadcast journalists interviewing government official after
a building collapse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. March 2013.
Some forms include:
Advocacy journalism – writing to advocate particular viewpoints or
influence the opinions of the audience.
Broadcast journalism – written or spoken journalism for radio or
Citizen journalism – participatory journalism.
Data journalism – the practice of finding stories in numbers, and
using numbers to tell stories. Data journalists may use data to
support their reporting. They may also report about uses and misuses
of data. The US news organization
ProPublica is known as a pioneer of
Drone journalism – use of drones to capture journalistic
Gonzo journalism – first championed by Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo
journalism is a "highly personal style of reporting".
Interactive journalism – a type of online journalism that is
presented on the web
Investigative journalism – in-depth reporting that uncovers social
problems. Often leads to major social problems being resolved.
Photojournalism – the practice of telling true stories through
Sensor journalism – the use of sensors to support journalistic
Tabloid journalism – writing that is light-hearted and entertaining.
Considered less legitimate than mainstream journalism.
Yellow journalism (or sensationalism) – writing which emphasizes
exaggerated claims or rumours.
The recent rise of social media has resulted in arguments to
reconsider journalism as a process rather than attributing it to
particular news products. From this perspective, journalism is
participatory, a process distributed among multiple authors and
involving journalists as well as the socially mediating public.
Main article: History of journalism
Johann Carolus's Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen
Historien, published in 1605 in Strassburg, is often recognized as the
first newspaper. The first successful English daily, the Daily
Courant, was published from 1702 to 1735. The reform of the
Diário Carioca newspaper in the 1950s is usually referred to as the
birth of modern journalism in Brazil.
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Walter Lippmann in 1914
Main article: Freedom of the press
In the 1920s, as modern journalism was just taking form, writer
Walter Lippmann and American philosopher
John Dewey debated over the
role of journalism in a democracy. Their differing philosophies still
characterize a debate about the role of journalism in society and the
To Lippmann, the journalist fulfilled the role of mediator, or
translator, between the general public and policy-making elites.
Lippmann reasoned that the public could not assess modern society's
growingly complex flurry of facts; therefore, it needed an
intermediary to filter its news. Journalists served as this
intermediary, recording the information exchanged among elites,
distilling it, and passing it on for public consumption. The public
would affect the decisions of the elite with its vote; in the
meantime, the elite would keep the business of power running.
Effectively, Lippmann's philosophy had the public at the bottom of the
power chain, inheriting its information from the elite.
Lippmann's elitism had consequences that he came to deplore. An
apostle of historicism and scientism, Lippmann did not merely hold
that democratic government was a problematic exercise, but regarded
all political communities, of whatever stripe, as needing guidance
from a transcendent partisanship for accurate information and
dispassionate judgment. In "Liberty and the News" (1919) and "Public
Opinion" (1921) Lippmann expressed the hope that liberty could be
redefined to take account of the scientific and historical perspective
and that public opinion could be managed by a system of intelligence
in and out of government. Thus the liberty of the journalist was to be
dedicated to gathering verifiable facts while commentators like
himself would place the news in the broader perspective. Lippmann
deplored the influence of powerful newspaper publishers and preferred
the judgments of the "patient and fearless men of science". In so
doing, he denigrated not only the opinion of the majority but also the
opinion of those who had influence or power as well. In a republican
form of government, the representatives are chosen by the people and
share with them adherence to the fundamental principles and political
institutions of the polity. Lippmann's quarrel was with those very
principles and institutions, for they are the product of the
pre-scientific and pre-historical viewpoint and what for him was a
groundless natural-rights political philosophy.
But Lippmann turned against what he called the "collectivism" of the
Progressive movement he encouraged with its de-emphasis on the
foundations of American politics and government and ultimately wrote a
Public Philosophy" (1955), which came very close to a
return to the principles of the American founders.
Dewey, on the other hand, believed not only that the public was
capable of understanding the issues created or responded to by the
elite, but also that it was in the public forum that decisions should
be made after discussion and debate. When issues were thoroughly
vetted, then the best ideas would bubble to the surface. Dewey
believed journalists should do more than simply pass on information.
He believed they should weigh the consequences of the policies being
enacted. Over time, his idea has been implemented in various degrees,
and is more commonly known as "community journalism".
Journalists interviewing a cosplayer
This concept of community journalism is at the centre of new
developments in journalism. In this new paradigm, journalists are able
to engage citizens and the experts and elites in the proposition and
generation of content. While there is an assumption of equality, Dewey
still celebrated expertise. Dewey believed the shared knowledge of
many to be far superior to a single individual's knowledge. Experts
and scholars are welcome in Dewey's framework, but there is not the
hierarchical structure present in Lippmann's understanding of
journalism and society. According to Dewey, conversation, debate, and
dialogue lie at the heart of a democracy.
While Lippmann's journalistic philosophy might be more acceptable to
government leaders, Dewey's approach is a more encompassing
description of how many journalists see their role in society, and, in
turn, how much[quantify] of society expects journalists to function.
Americans, for example, may criticize some of the excesses committed
by journalists, but they tend to expect journalists to serve as
watchdogs on government, businesses and actors, enabling people to
make informed decisions on the issues of the time.
Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel propose several guidelines for
journalists in their book The Elements of Journalism. Because
journalism's first loyalty is to the citizenry, journalists are
obliged to tell the truth and must serve as an independent monitor of
powerful individuals and institutions within society. The essence of
journalism is to provide citizens with reliable information through
the discipline of verification.
Professional and ethical standards
Journalism ethics and standards
News photographers and reporters waiting behind a police line in New
York City, in May 1994
While various existing codes have some differences, most share common
elements including the principles of — truthfulness, accuracy,
objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability — as
these apply to the acquisition of newsworthy information and its
subsequent dissemination to the public.
Some journalistic Codes of Ethics, notably the European ones, also
include a concern with discriminatory references in news based on
race, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or mental
disabilities. The Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe approved in 1993 Resolution 1003 on the Ethics of
Journalism which recommends journalists to respect the presumption of
innocence, in particular in cases that are still sub judice.
In the UK, all newspapers are bound by the Code of Practice of the
Independent Press Standards Organisation.This includes points like
respecting people's privacy and ensuring accuracy. However, the Media
Standards Trust has criticized the PCC, claiming it needs to be
radically changed to secure public trust of newspapers.
This is in stark contrast to the media climate prior to the 20th
century, where the media market was dominated by smaller newspapers
and pamphleteers who usually had an overt and often radical agenda,
with no presumption of balance or objectivity.
Because of the pressure on journalists to report news promptly and
before their competitors, factual errors occur more frequently than in
writing produced and edited under less time pressure. Thus a typical
issue of a major daily newspaper may contain several corrections of
articles published the previous day. Perhaps the most famous
journalistic mistake caused by time pressure was the Dewey Defeats
Truman edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, based on early election
returns that failed to anticipate the actual result of the 1948 US
Failing to uphold standards
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Such a code of conduct can, in the real world, be difficult to uphold
consistently. Reporting and editing do not occur in a vacuum but
always reflect the political context in which journalists, no less
than other citizens, operate.
A news organization's budget inevitably reflects decision-making about
what news to cover, for what audience, and in what depth. When budgets
are cut, editors may sacrifice reporters in distant news bureaus,
reduce the number of staff assigned to low-income areas, or wipe
entire communities from the publication's zone of interest.[citation
Publishers, owners and other corporate executives, especially
advertising sales executives, could try to use their powers over
journalists to influence how news is reported and published. For this
reason, journalists traditionally relied on top management to create
and maintain a "firewall" between the news and other departments in a
news organization to prevent undue influence on the news
Although some analysts[who?] point to the inherent difficulty of
maintaining objectivity, and others[who?] practically deny that it is
possible, still others[who?] point to the requirements of a free press
in a democratic society governed by public opinion and a republican
government under a limited constitution. According to this latter
view, direct or implicit criticism of the government, political
parties, corporations, unions, schools and colleges and even churches
is both inevitable and desirable, and cannot be done well without
clarity regarding fundamental political principles. Hence, objectivity
consists both in truthful, accurate reporting and well-reasoned and
thoughtful commentary, based upon a firm commitment to a free
society's principles of equality, liberty and government by consent.
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press and Media law
Journalists at a press conference
Number of journalists reported killed between 2002 and 2013
Governments have widely varying policies and practices towards
journalists, which control what they can research and write, and what
press organizations can publish. Some governments guarantee the
freedom of the press; while other nations severely restrict what
journalists can research or publish.
Journalists in many nations have some privileges that members of the
general public do not, including better access to public events, crime
scenes and press conferences, and to extended interviews with public
officials, celebrities and others in the public eye.
Journalists who elect to cover conflicts, whether wars between nations
or insurgencies within nations, often give up any expectation of
protection by government, if not giving up their rights to protection
by government. Journalists who are captured or detained during a
conflict are expected to be treated as civilians and to be released to
their national government. Many governments around the world target
journalists for intimidation, harassment, and violence because of the
nature of their work.
Right to protect confidentiality of sources
Main article: Protection of sources
Journalists' interaction with sources sometimes involves
confidentiality, 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;
withholding their sources can land journalists in contempt of court,
or in jail.
In the United States, there is no right to protect sources in a
federal court. However, federal courts will refuse to force
journalists to reveal their sources, unless the information the court
seeks is highly relevant to the case and there's no other way to get
it. State courts provide varying degrees of such protection.
Journalists who refuse to testify even when ordered to can be found in
contempt of court and fined or jailed. On the journalistic side of
keeping sources confidential, there is also a risk to the journalist's
credibility because there can be no actual confirmation of whether the
information is valid. As such it is highly discouraged for journalists
to have confidential sources.
History of American newspapers
History of journalism
Journalism education and
Journalism ethics and standards
Lists of journalists
Reporters without borders
Ryerson Review of Journalism
^ "10 Most Censored Countries," Committee to Protect Journalists, 2
May 2012, page retrieved 23 May 2013.
News values: immediacy and technology".
^ a b ""The State of the
News Media 2013: An Annual
Report in American
Journalism", the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in
Journalism, 2 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
^ McChesney, Robert W. (2012-10-01). "Farewell to Journalism?".
Journalism Practice. 6 (5–6): 614–626.
doi:10.1080/17512786.2012.683273. ISSN 1751-2786.
^ Harcup 2009, p. 4.
^ Gerald Stone, Kaye O'Donnell; Banning, Stephen A. (1997). "Public
perceptions of a newspaper's watchdog role".
Journal. 18 (1–2): 86–102. doi:10.1177/073953299701800108.
^ Corcoran, Mark (21 February 2012). "Drone journalism takes off".
Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
^ "Gonzo Journalism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 14 October
^ Robinson, Sue (2011). ""
Journalism as Process": The Organizational
Implications of Participatory Online News".
Communication Monographs. 13 (3): 137.
Journalism School". Columbia.: University of Missouti Press.
p. 1. Missing or empty url= (help)
^ de Albuquerque, Afonso; Gagliardi, Juliana (2011). "The Copy Desk
and the Dilemmas of the Institutionalization of "Modern Journalism" in
Journalism Studies. 12 (1): 80–91.
^ "The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the
Public Should Expect – Introduction Project for Excellence in
Journalism (PEJ)". Journalism.org. 2006-06-19. Archived from the
original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
Fourth Estate – Core
Journalism Principles, Standards and
Public Benefit Corporation. Retrieved 2
^ IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) – Declaration of
Principles on the Conduct of Journalists Archived 14 November 2012 at
the Wayback Machine. (DOC version)
^ "ASNE (American Society of Newspapers Editors) – Statement of
Principles". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 5 June
2008. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
^ "APME (Associated Press Managing Editors) – Statement of Ethical
Principles". Web.archive.org. 2008-06-22. Archived from the original
on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
^ "(Society of Professional Journalists) – Code of Ethics". SPJ.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – Resolution 1003
(1993) on the ethics of journalism (see clause 33) Archived 26 June
2009 at the Wayback Machine.
^ UK – Press Complaints Commission – Codes of Practice (see item
12, "Discrimination") Archived 14 December 2012 at the Wayback
^ (in Italian) "Italy – FNSI's La Carta dei Doveri (The Chart of
Duties)". Archived from the original on 12 April 2008. Retrieved
2012-12-24. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
^ (in Spanish) Spain – FAPE's Código Deontológico (Deontological
Code) (see Principios Generales, item 7, "a")
^ (in Portuguese) "Brazil – FENAJ's Code of Ethics" (PDF). Archived
from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2009. (20.8 KB)
(see Article 6, item XIV)
^ PACE Resolution 1003 (1993) on the Ethics of
Journalism Archived 26
June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (see clause 22)
^ Gohdes, AR; Carey, SC (March 2017). "Canaries in a coal-mine? What
the killings of journalists tell us about future repression". Journal
of peace research. 54 (2): 157–74. doi:10.1177/0022343316680859.
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Report V: Innovation and Transition", Facultas, 2017
Quick, Amanda C. ed. World Press Encyclopedia: A Survey of Press
Systems Worldwide (2nd ed. 2 vol 2002); 2500 pp; highly detailed
coverage of every country large and small.
de Beer Arnold S. and John C. Merrill, eds. Global Journalism: Topical
Issues and Media Systems (5th ed. 2008)
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