Journalism is the activity and profession of gathering novel information on current and relevant events and presenting it to the public as news.
Everyone behind news channels, newspapers, radio news stations, and online news websites is essentially a journalist, someone who broadcasts news to the world continuously as new occurrences that require broadcasting continue to happen. Journalism is thus a never-ending job and, as a whole, a very broad field that requires expertise and competence to cover many topics.
Journalism takes experience to do well, and one always starts small before rising to prominence. Jack Hawn, a renowned journalist for the Los Angeles Times who covered Muhammad Ali’s most historic fights, among other notable events, started as a copy boy who was commissioned to write theater reviews for five bucks each. Eventually, he filled in a sports desk vacancy, which gave him a job for forty-three years and a level of prestige he never could have dreamed of before. His book, Blind Journey: A Journalist’s Memoirs, makes for an excellent resource on the experiences one would undergo in the field of journalism.
Journalism, due to its broadness, diversity, and development, is a tricky field to break down and classify. Probably the clearest way of classification is by the manner or technique of journalism, by which we could classify different forms of journalism into five main types: news, reviews, columns, investigative journalism, and features.
News is probably the most straightforward journalism.
Facts are well-established, what has happened is clear to the ordinary eye and mind, and all the journalist has to do is relay that information to the greater public. There is not much if any, room for interpretation or bias. News is either correct or wrong, and the journalist’s job is to broadcast what is true and accurate.
Reviews are partly factual and partly opinionated, and such is made clear from the start. Here, the journalist relays a personal experience with the subject of the review, often a certain establishment, destination, infrastructure, or service; this part must stay factual in regard to what exactly happened in the experience. The opinion gives the review a conclusion, a judgment by the journalist based on the experience.
Columns are the most individualistic and opinionated form of journalism. It covers similar content to news and reviews but with a decided touch of personality from the author. Many successful online blogs would also fall under this type of journalism, which actually treads the line between journalism and writing.
Investigative journalism is what many people will instantly think of when they hear the word “journalist.”
This often has to do with interviews, as well as any other legal methods to uncover hidden information. This is perhaps the most impactful and risky form of journalism as it could be used to reveal sinister schemes and scandals by powerful and influential people, who could decide to harm the journalist investigating them. This type of journalism can be utilized to serve one of journalism’s greatest purposes: being the watchdog of the government.
Finally, features are, in a way, a combination of all the other types of journalism in a way that puts the work of the journalist in the spotlight. Features are long and take a lot of work, and they are often what qualify for journalism awards. Nowadays, they may include documentaries and series. They require the fact-checking of news, the personal experience of reviews, the personal writing style of columns, and the novel information of investigative journalism.
There are, of course, many other ways of dividing and classifying journalism. For one, there is the medium used; this is quite easy to distinguish, and there is not much to explain. These would be through print (newspapers, magazines, etc.), radio, television, and electronic (text or video) media. We can also classify by topic; however, this type of classification would be endless, and boundaries between topics may be unclear. These may include politics, entertainment, science, trade, sports, crime, war, travel, healthcare, and countless other topics.
Journalism will always be as broad as the world itself.
It covers nearly every aspect of this rapidly developing world and keeps us all updated. Its diversity must be respected and those that contribute to that diversity empowered. Each type of journalism is necessary for the world to exist as it does today.