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What is Journalism?

"Journalism is a guardian that never sleeps and protects freedom of the people" - Winston Churchill" Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I shall not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." - Jefferson "Newspapers are the schoolmasters of the common people". - Henry Ward Beecher

Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines journalism as: 1. the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media 2. the public press 3. an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium. B. 1. 2. writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of

events without an attempt at interpretation 3. writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest.

Journalism is a discipline of collecting, analyzing, verifying, and presenting news regarding current events, trends, issues and people. Those who practice journalism are known as journalists. Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the citizenry. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and business, journalism also covers cultural aspects of society such as arts and entertainment. The field includes editing, photojournalism, and documentary. Now, finally, so what the heck is journalism:
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Journalism is telling true stories, well and accurately. Journalism is communicating information that will help people make sense of their world.

Journalism is getting the story behind the story, avoiding the spin, finding the truth.

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Journalism is a public trust with citizens to investigate and expose wrongs and trumpet rights.

Journalism is being part of a community, or as DougSaunders eloquently puts it, a universal reflex of citizenship.

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Journalism adds meaning, context to facts. Despite what Merriam-Webster says, journalism is gathering, analyzing, and disseminating socially relevant information in a consistent, transparent, and honest way.

First Draft of History, Journalism is sometimes described as the "first draft of history," because journalists often record important events, producing news articles on short deadlines. While under pressure to be first with their stories, news media organizations usually edit and proofread their reports prior to publication, adhering to each organization's standards of accuracy, quality and style. Many news organizations claim proud traditions of holding government officials and institutions accountable to the public, while media critics have raised questions about holding the press itself accountable.

In modern society, news media has become the chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs; but the role and status of journalism, along with other forms of mass media, are undergoing changes resulting from the Internet, especially Web 2.0 What journalism is not?
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Journalism isnt the medium: Its not the newspaper, the TV broadcast or blogging. Journalism doesnt have be done by professionals with degrees or training. In fact, for much of journalisms history, professionals didnt do it. Im old enough to have had coworkers who started out the old way, as copy boys and worked their way up all without a j-school degrees. (Note, Im not knocking education. I have both a bachelors and a masters in journalism. My point is that people can do journalism without a degree.)

Journalism isnt tied to news organizations. I dont think you have to work for a big company or a huge chain or a TV station to do journalism. Again, the first journalists werent part of big companies they were a person and a printer. As an industry, weve

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become bureaucracies, but that doesnt mean you need the bureaucratic trappings to do journalism.

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