We explain what journalism is, the journalistic genres, and the topics it covers. In addition, its characteristics and what is sensationalism.
What is Journalism?
Journalism is a professional exercise whose focus is the creation, collection, reworking and dissemination of information that is of public interest in different formats and presentations.
Journalism is traditionally thought of as part of the social sciences (communication sciences , social communication, etc.) or information sciences, and has often been considered as the “ fourth power ” of societies , given the importance increasing that the management of information has charged in contemporary societies.
Those who exercise this trade are usually called journalists , although it is also often used as more or less synonyms reporter , social communicator or simply communicator.
Origins of journalism
The 19th century is when the great informative newspapers are born.
It is considered that journalism was formally born with the printing press , since it gave man the ability to mass-produce pamphlets, pamphlets and other written communication vehicles through which to spread his ideas quickly. The link of this type of production with current affairs and events distinguishes it, for example, from literature and philosophical professions.
However, it will not be until the 19th century, when the great informative newspapers are born , that journalism will begin to exist as a professional concept. This undoubtedly coincides with the origins of capitalist industrial society, in which lawyers are displaced as shapers of public opinion and the profession of journalism is professionalized.
As journalism encompasses the production of numerous forms of text , both written and audiovisual, these texts have been classified according to their intention for the reader, namely:
- informative genres. Those texts or broadcasts that have the task of correctly imparting information of interest, usually news or current. For example, the news and the report.
- opinion genres. Those texts or broadcasts that analyze, interpret or propose ways of understanding an event of general interest or another text itself, according to the subjectivities of those who write. For example, editorials and opinion pieces .
- hybrid genera. Those in which the informative desire is combined with personal opinion and subjective approaches. For example, interviews and chronicles .
Forms of journalism
Audiovisual journalism incorporates audio and moving images.
On the other hand, if we look at the very means used by journalism to communicate with the public, we can establish five large groups:
- Written. The oldest uses the word to communicate with its readership, although it is rarely only the written word (they incorporate photos and illustrations, etc.). An example of this is newspapers and magazines.
- Graphic. The one consisting mostly of images: photographs , illustrations, etc. Rarely, again, is he without written words. For example, the photoreport.
- Radio. The one that uses the voice as a vehicle of communication with the audience. For example, radio shows .
- Audiovisual. A step forward with respect to radio, it was born with television and cinema , therefore it incorporates audio and moving images for the public’s experience. For example, television news.
- Digital. The newest slope, born with the Internet . It draws on all the previous genres to offer the public a complex, mixed experience, characterized by hyperlinks and participatory reception. For example, the website of a newspaper.
Investigative journalism finds out truths to present to your audience.
It is also possible to understand journalism from its specific approaches to the subject, whether its objective is to inform, give opinions or both. In this case, we will have a long list of journalistic topics, of which the following stand out:
- war journalism. The one that covers armed conflicts in the world and provides news of the development of events to its audience from the scene of the events.
- Events journalism. The most committed to local news, especially with the narration of events of interest to the community , such as the red chronicle (criminal) or political news.
- cultural journalism. It focuses on topics of humanistic and educational interest, usually through in-depth reports and recent news.
- literary journalism. Difficult to define, it deals with topics that are of personal interest to the journalist, and it does so through a very personal and very subjective style, using expressive resources and poetic license.
- Investigation journalism. It undertakes the task of collecting data, unearthing information and discovering truths to present to its audience, through reports that provide numerous information and much support around a topic of interest.
- journalism of the heart Also called “pink press”, it deals with the social life of celebrities and entertainment stars.
- Sports journalism. It focuses its news and reports on sports of various kinds.
- Scientific journalism. It is dedicated to exploring new technological or scientific trends, reviewing information of interest and disseminating science .
- tourist journalism. It reviews the destinations of interest to the audience, offers information on possible travel and lodging destinations.
Given the influence they have on the public opinion of their audience, journalists are governed by a code of ethics that outlines, broadly speaking, respect for the rights of the audience to be informed , the commitment to the veracity of the information transmitted and, ultimately, with the truth and the common good, as guiding ideas of the journalistic exercise.
Amaryllis and longlining
Journalists who sell their information are called “longliners”.
Since there is a professional code that regulates the profession, those who do not adhere to it in their journalistic work are viewed with considerable contempt.
Thus, journalists who act in an unscrupulous and morbid way around revealing to their public information that may be sensitive or even untrue, in order to capture the attention of the readership , are branded as “yellow press” .
On the other hand, journalists who sell their jobs, sell their information or sell the disclosure or not of a news story to the highest bidder among those involved are called “longliners” . It is a form of extortion or corruption.
Reportage vs. News
The difference between a report and a news story lies in the approach given to the information. While the news loses validity over time, since it depends on quickly informing its audience of an event of immediate interest, the report delves into a topic from different points of view , even allowing itself to assume a clear position regarding the facts it denounces. or investigate.
Finally, the news is much shorter , the report usually requires a more relaxed reading .
There is no democratic force that forces a journalist to reveal their sources.
Informants or providers of data for their reports are called “sources” in journalism , which are usually protected by the figure of anonymity so that when revealing sensitive information they do not suffer damage or persecution. In theory, there is no democratic force capable of forcing a journalist to reveal his sources.
There are numerous schools of Journalism or Social Communication in the world, commonly considered as a university career . However, many of the best journalists in the world have been self-taught or trained in other professions, which is why in many circuits the formal study of journalism is considered unnecessary, at most as a secondary career (postgraduate) to combine with the knowledge acquired from base.
Freedom of the press
There are countries where journalists are at risk when disclosing sensitive information.
In democratic countries , the journalistic exercise is usually protected (and regulated) by law , to guarantee the transparency of its approaches and the objectivity of its functions. Of course, total objectivity is impossible, but it is thought that journalism should tend towards it.
In other countries of the world, whose government regimes do not allow for a free press, journalists take enormous risks when disclosing sensitive content and are often persecuted, imprisoned, or killed.
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