What is Journalism?


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A lecture for "Hot Topics in Journalism and Advertising" (J1000) that looks at the role of journalism at a very basic level.

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What is Journalism?

  1. 1. What is Journalism? Profession Service Business
  2. 2. The Good • “Good journalism holds communities together…. Makes a difference somewhere everyday.” (Downie) The Bad • Can bebiased, sensational, exaggerated or blow situations out of proportion The Ugly • Can be inaccurate, influenced by special interests, misleading
  3. 3. News Values • Timeliness
 Did something happen recently or did we just learn about it? • Impact
 Are many people affected or just a few? • Proximity
 Did something happen close to home, or did it involve people from here? • Controversy
 Are people in disagreement about this? • Conflict
 Is there confrontation or violence involved? • Prominence
 Is a well-known person involved? • Currency
 Are people here talking about this? • Oddity
 Is what happened unusual?
  4. 4. And now, a little history • “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1787
  5. 5. Definition  Journalism or “the press” = The only “job” protected by the First Amendment  Definition: “Journalism is the profession of writing or communicating, formally employed by publications and broadcasters, for the benefit of a particular community of people. The writer or journalist is expected to use facts to describe events, ideas or issues that are relevant to the public.” - Wikipedia
  6. 6. Platforms • Newspapers – Daily, weekly more than 1,400 • Magazines – More than 12,000 titles • Radio – More than 13,000 stations (AM, FM) – Satellite • Television – More than 2,000 stations – Cable, Satellite • Online
  7. 7. Practices • Standards & Ethics – No license to practice – Self-policing, peers – Standards set by journalism schools and trade groups, individual media outlets • Society of Professional Journalists – More than 10,000 members • Code of Ethics
  8. 8. Salaries & Qualifications How much do journalists make? Start: $18-$35,000 Finish: $35,000 to $15,000,000 What does it take? • Bachelor’s Degree (journalism, English) • Practical Experience • Start small • Move around
  9. 9. Who are these people? • Job titles – NEWSPAPER/MAGAZINE: Reporter, photographer, editor, publisher, designer/layout – RADIO: Reporter, anchor, producer, audio editor, news director, engineer, general manager – TV: Reporter, photographer, video editor, anchor, producer, news director, engineer, director, general manager – ONLINE: writer, editor,producer, design/layout, technical
  10. 10. The Work • Basics – Original newsgathering – At least 2 sources per story or article – Attribution (who said it?) – Research (statistics, history, context) – Writing, copy editing