Friday, 28 March 2014

So what is Journalism? Role, Classification and Types of Journalists

In Do You Have The Nose Journalism Demands? you were introduced to journalism, and the reasons the profession interest young people. In the first article, we ran through the husk of journalism as an institution. The article also slightly touched the economics of it (salary, high public profile ETC). We also examined the husk of the Elements of Journalism, a set of principles that envisages to govern the actions of popular media et cetera.

In this post, the second, let us take a look at the practical aspects of journalism as a professional engagement, the role journalism plays in a society, and yes, an introduction to the various 'types' of journalism, and the types of journalists in the industry. 

So what is Journalism?

Broadly speaking, Journalism refers to the work of a journalist in informing current events, issues and trends. Its more predisposed role is in being an independent monitor for good citizenry. Journalism plays three significant roles:
  • Interpreter
  • Evaluator'
  • Disseminator'

Contemplating the state of journalism in Nagaland today – the overriding tendency to appease or give in to pressure (read fear) – I have no qualm in saying we all regularly wet our pants for no good reason other than the journalist (or a pansy-bottomed Naga management) would choose convenience over principle. ‘Interpreter’ and ‘Evaluator’ as intrinsic roles do not exist in the Naga media. Therefore, you are merely a 'Disseminator'. I hope you go beyond that handicap.  

Generally, the media plays the role of ‘filter’ for society and citizens to create positive actions, and to interpret their objective to build society, or influence a policy, for instance. We wonder about the pitiful state of Nagaland today, the people and their social appendages; why they still swallow without protest whatever muck is fed to them by powers-that-be? Agreed, we do apparently play the role of the filter – sieve out all the truths and dump the rubbish into the print. I hope young Nagas would lead a movement for change, and for citizen discourse.


To put it simply, there are two broad classifications of Journalism according to the nature of platforms employed to disseminate information: Print Journalism and Electronic Journalism. 

Newspapers, magazines and even journals fall within the domain of Print Journalism. Electronic Journalism encompasses multi-media platforms such as Television, Radio and the Internet media. 

Journalism and Journalists: Types of

Political shindigs and the modern man’s insufferable obsession with politics and tragedies have reduced journalism to a pitifully parochial stereotype. Eight out of 10 think journalism is limited to hard political concerns. 

Some years ago, I was informed that some press organizations in Nagaland were talking about calling only reporters as ‘journalists’ while production personnel (management, editors and editorial personnel, layout designers, cartoonist ETC) should not be called so.

My reaction was irritation: We need to do something completely different occasionally, say, look out our bamboo huts and experience the world – or at least read a 100-page book at least once every 10 years. Perhaps impulsive and ill-informed interpretation of some vested advocates not only failed to locate the trees but also miss the entire forest. For instance, what of editors who possess experience as reporters?

Broadly, there are two classifications of journalists:

  •  Reporting Journalists: (Reporters, Correspondents, Bureau personnel, Stringers ETC) and
  • Production Journalists: (Editors, sub-editors, copy editors, managers and management personnel, language managers and 'formatters', photo editors, graphic or layout designers, webmasters, technical personnel ETC).    

So naturally, the types of journalists are consistent with the several more types of journalism besides the more-fundamental news Journalism. ‘News Journalism’ also encompasses the cultural and artistic dimensions of an organized society (For example., arts and entertainment, fashion and food and travel). The New York Times writers’ website lists the various types of contemporary Journalism:
  •          Business and Finance journalism +
  •          Environmental journalism
  •          Citizen Journalism
  •          Sports journalism  
  •          Investigative journalism
  •          ‘Photo Journalism’*
  •          Celebrity Journalism + and
  •         Fashion journalism +
+ Business and Finance journalism, Celebrity Journalism and Fashion Journalism are three of the highest-earning media professions in the world, particularly in the West and Europe where even journalists in the two beats with even 2 years experience usually earn a six-figure monthly.

* The increased interest in the fine arts has also prospered what has rapidly gained mainstream recognition as Photojournalism.

I will take you through the basic tasks and work of news reporters in the next post. Read it here: What Do Journalists Do? Basic Tasks of News Reporters and Production Journalists.

©2012 Al Ngullie ALL RIGHTS RESERVED This article contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systemwithout express written permission from the author / publisher.

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