Journalism is a concept most of us are relatively familiar with.
In fact, according to some reports, the first instance of “journalism” as a concept dates back to 1476, when a rudimentary printing press emerged.
We’ve grown up constantly exposed to different kinds of journalism, from the news stories reported on our television sets and radios to the information published in newspapers and magazines. Today, we’re also seeing an increase in new forms of journalism delivered through social media, podcasts, and online streams.
However, even in a world where journalistic content is pervasive, many still find it challenging to define what journalism means.
Here’s your guide to journalism and why it’s essential in today’s world.
What is Journalism: The Foundations of Journalism
Journalism is the art and science of gathering, compiling, and presenting news via various forms of mass media. Essentially, it’s a form of sharing information and facts, often from an objective perspective, with a commitment to accuracy and education.
According to Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach in “The Elements of Journalism”, the purpose of journalism isn’t defined by a specific set of techniques or the use of a particular technology. Instead, the goal of journalism is defined by the importance “news” plays in any person’s life.
After all, knowledge is power, and we rely on access to a constant stream of updated and consistent information to survive in any landscape. News keeps us informed of what’s happening in the world around us, draws attention to the matters we need to be aware of, and inspires us to action. Though it may be exciting and entertaining, journalism is essentially a tool for empowerment.
With journalistic writing and reporting, experts provide citizens with the information they need to navigate their lives. The journalism we see in the world today informs our decisions regarding interacting with our communities, societies, businesses, and even governments.
Why is Journalism Important?
So why is journalism so crucial to our lives as human beings?
The media is often referred to as the “fourth pillar of the state”. In other words, it’s a foundational part of any community or landscape. For people to work and live together effectively, they need to be informed, not just about current events, but about the changes in our world and the impact we each have on the landscapes around us.
The task of a journalist is mainly to report on current events and share valuable information. However, journalists are also experts in contextualizing events and using them to drive action. The reports we read push us to think about different concepts uniquely, expand our imaginations, and develop a deeper understanding of our planet.
At a basic level, journalism creates a universal “awareness” among human beings, ensuring we all have access to a stream of facts and data relevant to our lives.
Why Does Journalism Matter to Today’s World?
Journalism today is a world away from the reports we used to see several decades ago. There are more ways to consume news than ever before, from social media channels to online websites. Moreover, the internet and the connectedness of our world means it’s much easier to report and share information en-masse. As such, we’ve seen the emergence of different strains of journalism.
There are still journalists committed to reporting on general world events, but we also have specialists in our society dedicated to specific types of news. You can explore different environments to learn about the latest financial news or stay up to date on the technology landscape.
While journalism as a concept has evolved significantly over the years, the core purpose of the practice remains the same. Modern society wants and expects access to a constant flow of information. We like to feel educated and up to date.
Journalism is important because it:
- Facilitates crucial processes: We use data and facts to make decisions in any environment. In the day-to-day world, the news we read and the reports we see also influence our choices and actions. Journalism helps to facilitate democratic processes, like inspiring people to vote for the next leader of a country. It also pushes us to respond to critical issues harming humanity, from injustice and equality to global warming.
- Supports commerce: To make important decisions about what we’re going to purchase, we need to know what’s available in the landscape and the benefits of each solution. Since the early days of newspapers, journalism has helped to lubricate commerce and strengthen the development of brands. It creates awareness for new products and solutions and asks people to consider their needs and demands.
- Drives the transformation of culture: Journalism helps us to grow as people. The news reports we read about other communities and people help to connect us to people outside of our social groups. Media serves as a way to make the world more visible and help us understand how other people live. It helps to bridge some of the common gaps between communities existing across the globe.
More than just another form of entertainment, Journalism empowers us to make better choices about our own lives and contribute to the lives of others with our actions.
Long Live the Power of Journalism
It’s easy to see journalism as just another form of content creation, pushing more information and insights into the world. However, the reality is journalism plays a massive role in who we are as human beings. The ability to access and consume news in various formats helps us evolve as people and respond to the challenges we face as a species.
Journalism educates, informs, and inspires us, giving us the guidance we need to continue growing towards a brighter future. While the way journalism is delivered may change, the impact of this concept remains consistently strong.