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Elements of journalism

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  • 1. + The Elements of Journalism What role does journalism play within our society and the world we live in?
  • 2. + The Elements of Journalism  The primary purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self- governing.  The news media helps us to define our community.  It helps us create a common knowledge and language rooted in reality.  It helps a community identify it’s goals, heroes and villains.  The real meaning of the 1st Amendment means that journalism must be an independent institution.
  • 3. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.  Our primary duty is to get the facts right.  News is the material that people use to learn and think about the world beyond themselves.  Because of this, the information must be usable and reliable.  For truth to prevail, journalists must make clear to whom they owe their first loyalty.
  • 4. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalism’s first loyalty is to citizens.  This gave birth to the phrase “journalistic independence.”  Consumers know that the restaurant review they are reading was not influenced by that same restaurants ad in the paper, online or on their broadcast.  Because of this, journalists must maintain ethical guidelines by not accepting gifts, etc. by those whom they cover.
  • 5. + The Elements of Journalism  The essence of journalism is a discipline of verification.  All your life your parents have told you, “We love you.”  Two things; 1) How do you know they love you? 2)How do you know they are your parents?  Journalism alone is focused on getting what happened down right.  A journalist is someone who steps away from the table and tries to see it all.
  • 6. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover.  We move in their world but it is THEIR world.  Conflict of interest: when a journalist covers a story about an event, place, person, etc. in which they are personally involved.  This independence is even more important when you consider…
  • 7. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalists must serve as an independent monitor of power.  Watergate – 1972 – President Nixon is caught involved in a break-in of the Democratic National Committee and resigns as president.  More than just government, it extends to all powerful institutions in society.  Journalism gives voice to the voiceless.
  • 8. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalism must provide a forum for public criticism and comment.  Journalism serves as a public forum, a place for the sharing of information, ideas and the debate of those ideas.  This comes in the form of letters to the editor, phone forums, guest columnists, etc.  This forum must adhere to all other principles and relate to the role journalism plays in a democracy.
  • 9. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalists must make the significant relevant and interesting.  There is no such thing as a boring story, there are only boring reporters.  Journalists are storytellers, with a purpose.
  • 10. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalists should keep the news in proportion and make it comprehensive.  A front page story that is fun and interesting but by no reasonable definition contains anything significant is a distortion.  Consumers should ask: 1. Can we see the whole community in the coverage? 2. Do I see myself? 3. Does the report include a fair mix of what most people would consider either interesting or significant.
  • 11. + The Elements of Journalism  Journalists have an obligation to personal conscience.  Every journalist must have a sense of personal ethics and responsibility – a moral compass.  They must recognize a personal obligation to disagree with editors, owners, advertisers, and even citizens.