Journalism is a part of mass media that involves exploration and reporting of current events taking place in a city, a country, or across the world. The events can be related to political matters, public affairs, entertainment, fashion trends, or general issues. The basic purpose of Journalism, i.e. the freedom of expression, is rooted in the people’s fundamental right to have an opinion.
Role of journalists and journalism
- Communicating information is an essential aspect of a democratic system as it brings clarity into the society and ensures that the decisions made concur with the public’s sense of justice.
In order to ensure that public advocacy prevails, it is essential that the people are aware of decisions while they are being made. Here comes the role of journalists as they keep an eye on the work and decisions made by government bureaucrats for the citizens.
- Journalists should not be only considered as reporters, editors, or newscasters. A journalist, in fact, represents the public, that is, the fourth branch of the government. The journalist is expected to be work as a watchdog to the people and to update them. This type of work is a great civic responsibility and requires a loyalty to truth. The journalists provide information to the citizens so that they can form their personal opinions.
- Journalism bridges the gap between people and policymakers. It is one of the mediums through which, on one side the information is conveyed to the public about the events taking place in the society, and on the other side journalism allows the politicians to realize the impact of their previous decisions and what type of decisions were made in other parts of the country or the world. Moreover, journalism helps policymakers to understand what the citizens expect of them.
- In addition to serving as communication channels, good reporting also throws light on the world. It explains facts and things in a lucid way, describing the cause and effect associations of incidents and providing essential information on matters and decisions.
- Journalism brings people closer to everyday events and shows how they impact the life of a regular citizen. It creates a sense of camaraderie and maintains peace in society. Journalism can be seen as a social occupation where reporters try to support and maintain the reliability of the policy-making system and sustain its functions. This can happen through big newsworthy actions. Seeing that people consume media at their own pace and interest, they tend to gather information from various sources. Therefore, bigger news events that can impact people as a group are required.
- Journalism has the capability to overemphasize things and to understate them. Media also strives to kindle people’s enthusiasm for discovering new things. It evokes emotions, entertains, and offers new experiences and stories which the public can feel connected to. Events like wars, terrorist activities, assassinations get wider news coverage and therefore, feel like critical moments in history. The audience follows these events as if they are living that historical event.
- The most important principles of a reporter are neutrality, responsibility, and no profit-making or political benefit. The job of reporters and their position with regard to the exploitation of social influence is a debatable topic. If a journalist is handling a social issue or political issue, he/she must do it without any personal prejudice. A journalist can make sharp comments, but it should be done independently of the news work, or else the integrity of the journalist as an impartial conveyor of news is dented and the public is smart enough to point that the journalist in question is biased. Hence, the journalists should adhere to good reporting habits. This happens mainly through self-regulation.
Why is journalism condemned?
Despite the fact that journalism is crucial to the working of a democratic civilization, reporting is not thought highly of as a line of work. There can be many reasons for this. Biases and clamor related to hearsay reporters and paparazzi, favoritism accusations and buttering up the politicians have impacted people’s feelings towards journalists. Moreover, people easily condemn the efforts of a reporter if the views or the reporting contradicts their personal or ideological beliefs.
Press, as it is commonly addressed to today, is sometimes called the ‘overseer’ of the society. This term denotes the fact that reporters are supposed to watch over the actions taken by the policymakers. However, in recent times, social media has taken over the role of the watchdog that scrutinizes the work of reporters.
In recent years, the low respect for reporters can be attributed to commercialization, the emphasis on the entertainment industry and the blunders triggered by the mounting workload and hasty editorial workers. In such situations, journalists may lose their reliability due to a huge amount of information sources accessible today. Many people get news via social media channels or blogs. These communication channels cannot be considered as journalists regardless of their eagerness to inform the public. There is a difference between reporters who study Mass Communication and other people who just spread information. In order that the journalists are held in higher regard that bloggers, they should choose their information sources diligently and look for the truth and identify news and its purpose.
Journalists hold on to certain ethics and principles while they make crucial decisions and report news to the public. Some journalists are condemned for their research and subjects on which they choose to write. Although some topics might seem controversial, it depicts the freedom of the press and the ethical choices that journalists make. They should be able to decide what news should be brought to people’s knowledge.
People rely on journalists to know the truth with an unprejudiced opinion. It is the responsibility of a journalist to assist democracy. In the world where news is churned out and “churnalism” is a deemed as a type of journalism, it is important for real journalists to establish their credibility for professional and ethical purposes. Occasionally, society makes it difficult for journalists to maintain their integrity but, the world and the people need journalists who are committed to seeking truth and protecting society.