What is Journalism?


Introduction to Journalism

We all know journalism as one of the oldest professions around the world. It dates back thousands of years when people used to write down stories about their lives for others to read.The Words ‘JOURNALIST’, ‘JOURNAL’ and ‘JOURNALISM’ are derived from the French term ‘JOURNAL’. Indeed this comes from the Latin term ‘DIURNALIS’ or ‘DAILY’.

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What is Journalism?

Journalism is a profession of communicating news for information, education, and entertainment through a particular media. It is the process of gathering information from various sources and presenting them to readers in a clear and concise manner through print, radio, television, and digital platforms.

Journalism has become an important part of our society. It informs us about what is happening around us, and helps us make decisions based on facts. and also an important part of democracy. Journalism provides information about politics, business, science, sports, culture, and many other aspects of society. It allows people to know what their government is doing and how they are being governed.

Interestingly, Journalism also provides a platform for those who are not able to speak out themselves to be heard.

Who is a Journalist?

A journalist is someone who writes about current events or issues for publication. They are responsible for keeping people informed about current events and issues. They are those brave individuals who keep on reporting on news events and about the current events. Such as wars, natural disasters, elections, political scandals, business, sports, science, technology, medicine, education, religion, entertainment, and many other topics. They also report on scientific discoveries, business trends, new technologies and cultural developments. They write news stories about what people are doing, thinking, feeling, etc…

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As per the history, all the forms of pamphlets, periodicals, gazettes, newsbooks, news-sheets, and letters came to be termed as ‘newspapers’. Initially, the people who wrote for them were called “news writers,” or “essayists,” or “mercurists.” Later, they were called “journalists.” Now, “journalists” are also known as “reporters”. All those people who work in the media as editors, assistant editors, sub-editors, correspondents, reporters, proofreaders, photojournalists, cartoonists, etc…, are called “Journalists”.

Journalists are often employed by newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television networks, and online news sites. They may be employed full-time, or as freelancers, or to work part-time. The journalists who work as part-time are called Stringers. While the journalists who are occasional contributors are called “Freelance journalists”. On the other hand, “Paparazzi” are freelance photographers who capture photos of celebrities, and politicians.

Without journalists, people would be unable to know what is going on around them. Journalists play a vital role in mass communication and journalism. There would be no news or media coverage, if there are no journalists. On the other hand, without journalists, there would be no way for citizens to hold their leaders accountable.

A journalist is anyone who contributes in some way to the gathering, selection, and processing of news and current affairs for the press, radio, film, television, cable, and Internet.
Example: Editors, Asst. Editor/ Sub. Editor, Correspondents, Reporters, Proofreaders, Photojournalist/Cartoonists etc… working for media are also called Journalists.

  1. Stringers are part-time journalists
  2. Freelance journalists are those who are occasional contributors
  3. Paparazzi are freelance photographers who capture photos of celebrities, and politicians.


  1. BROADSHEET ( ‘quality or ‘serious’ press)
    A standard or full-sized newspaper that takes a serious look at major news stories is called Broadsheet.
    Broadsheets are usually around 15 inches wide to 20 inches or more inches (sizes vary around the world). Broadsheet papers tend to feature six columns. A broadsheet might spend dozens of column inches on “serious” news, like a major bill passed in the parliament, budget, election, natural calamity, special events, etc…
    Eg. The Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Asian Age, etc.
  2. TABLOID (‘popular’ or ‘sensational’ press)
    A smaller than standard newspaper which focuses on less “serious” content, especially celebrities, sports, and sensationalist crime stories is called Tabloid. Tabloid refers to a newspaper smaller than a broadsheet and no more than five columns across.
    A tabloid is more likely to target a sensational crime story or celebrity gossip, the private lives of famous people, crime, accidents, disasters, public corruption, sex, relationships, gossips, rumors, etc…
    ‘Tabloid Journalism’ is frequently termed ‘yellow journalism’ primarily because of its tendency to sensationalize events, issues, and people. Eg. Blitz, the Midday, etc.


  1. Responsibility (of newspaper and Journalist)
  2. Freedom of the Press (‘a vital right of mankind’)
  3. Independence (faithful and loyal to the public interest)
  4. Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy (good faith with the reader)
  5. Impartiality (news reports free from opinion or bias)
  6. Fair Play, Decency (recognition of private rights, prompt correction of errors).


There are various kinds of Journalism. As per the media of communication, the opportunities changes. The scope of the role of Photojournalists and Journalists can be determined by the various kinds of Journalism as mentioned below.

The journalism practiced on a day-to-day basis in big media houses is called mainstream journalism.
A daily newspaper, news television channels, is mainstream journalism that reports events on a daily basis.
Eg: The broadsheet daily newspapers are examples of mainstream print media.
The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Gujarat Samachar, Manorama, Deepika, Times of India, etc…

Journalism that deals with specialized areas like film, sports, lifestyle, literature, business, travel, fashion, automobiles, real estate, computers, mobiles, etc… are called Area-Specific Journalism.
Eg: The Economic Times, Financial Express, Femina, etc…

Magazine journalism is entirely different from newspaper journalism because it covers a longer period as compared to the daily newspaper. Magazines have the possibility of looking at and reporting an event in its totality as it has a lot of time to prepare and publish the story. Magazines are now available both in printed and digital formats.

The pictures play a different part in the layout of the magazine. Pictures are used in newspapers to enhance the content of news whereas in magazines the picture could be used merely for making the page more attractive.

Types of Magazines based on Subject Matter

  1. General Magazines: It includes normal magazines like India Today, Frontline, etc…
  2. Specialized Magazines: like Travel, photography, fashion, sports, film, lifestyle, Yatra, Travel & Flavors, etc.

Types of Magazines based on Periodicity

  1. A monthly magazine (once in every month),
  2. A weekly magazine (once in every week),
  3. A fortnightly (once in every 2 weeks),
  4. Quarterly (once in every 3 months),
  5. Half-yearly (once in every 6 months),
  6. Annually (once a year),


The lunchtime or evening newspapers are in tabloid form. They are normally not delivered at home because of their time of publishing. They are distributed on the crossroads, bus stands, railway stations, traffic signals, malls, and smaller markets.
Tabloid journalism thrives on sensationalism of one kind or the other.
There were and still are certain tabloids that publish awkward photographs, photographs of celebrities, etc… on the last page, even if they may have very good reports inside them.


Type of journalism that requires in-depth research into the matter, reports the same with proper evidence, and is confidential.

The main objective of such journalism is to create awareness about a certain issue.
eg. NGOs working on the issue of gender empowerment, labor issues, health and hygiene, bonded labor, child labor, violence against women and children, etc.
These indulge in advocacy at both the levels, i.e, mainstream press and house publications.

The role of the journalist is not only to disseminate information about a particular event or incident; he/ she can also make an interpretation of the same.
As the mainstream media possesses credibility among the people, it interprets the event and explains to society what is good and what is bad. It is an important role for Indian journalists as they are regards as opinion leaders.

Convergent journalism is the name given to multitasking in journalism where a journalist is expected to not only produce a report for the newspaper, he/she is also required to give it orally for radio and or television and at the same time give a brief one for mobile news service as well.
Media convergence is defined as a form of cross-media cooperation, usually involving broadcast, print, photography, and internet sites. A journalist needs to be trained in many skills like writing for newspapers, radio, television, online, and mobile news service.
Eg. the Times of India runs a newspaper, TV Channel, Indiatimes.com, and Radio Mirchi


Print journalism in spite of being analytical used to appear stale in comparison to the breaking news scenario of television a few years back. 

Today even television news looks less fast than SMS messaging or the various news services incorporated by the mobile service providers. Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, websites, blogs, Twitter, etc…Newspapers have responded well to the new culture of a paperless world and have started moving in a direction that is not only convenient but economical. 

Many newspapers have already started their online editions that could be accessed on the Internet by paying a certain amount as a subscription. Web Journalism and mobile news services are the most recent trend in the profession of journalism.


Fashion journalism comprises reports and articles on the fashion world. The journalists in this field are also called fashion editors or fashion writers. The key duty is to cover the most up-to-date trends and happenings in the fashion business. These fashion articles are generally found in the supplements in newspapers and specialized magazines.


The journalist in this field deals with the news and events connected to celebrities from the various domains of life. It includes celebrities from the fields like sports, dance, music, art, politics, etc. This kind of journalism is concerned with the news related to the celebrities’ professional and personal lives. 

Reporting gossip is also one of the aspects of celebrity journalism. Journalists are usually accused of misrepresenting and misconstruing news or quotes in a manipulative or intentional manner. 


Sports journalism is one of the most important aspects of journalism. 

The Journalist should have proper knowledge of the game including points, rules, and regulations, etc. In sports journalism, the journalists spend hours reporting on a  specific sports event.  

A journalist is required to report the precise facts and statistics about that event. In sports journalism, interviews with sports celebrity stars are one of the interesting features.  


Citizen journalism is just not just the domain of professional journalists. All citizens possess the right to function as journalists and report the news to the media. 

With the emergence of mobile communication, the importance of citizen journalism increased. Anybody can take pictures of an event and can send it to any media organization through MMS / Youtube and get it telecasted.  


We have journalists who have a preference for covering the issues concerned with the environment and its conservation and protection. 

Environmental journalists bring into focus various issues like greenhouse gas emission, melting polar ice, deforestation, extinction of various flora and fauna, etc.


The reporter or journalist covers detailed reports about the latest in the world of business, e.g., product launches, stock market conditions, loans, economic conditions, etc. We have many shows solely dedicated to the business news on television. Further, in newspapers as well one can find a specific section on these subjects.


Ambush Journalism indicates the aggressive tactics taken up by the journalists to abruptly confront and question the individuals who would otherwise not speak to the media. Particularly the television journalists have taken the practice on a large scale. 

“Ambush means Surprise Attack”

Some media people have sharply criticized the practice as being very unethical and sensational in nature. However, others have defended it on the grounds that it is the only means to get an opportunity to avail comments from those who are generally beyond the reach of the media.


Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word “gonzo” is believed to have been first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style.

Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy that concerns the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, in contrast to traditional journalism.

“Gonzo” is a borrowed Italian word, meaning fool or crazy.

Gonzo journalism tries to represent a multi-disciplinary viewpoint on a specific story by drawing from sports, popular culture, and philosophical, political, and literary sources. 


Churnalism is a form of journalism in which press releases, stories provided by news agencies, and other forms of pre-packaged material, instead of reported news, are used to create articles in newspapers and other news media.

In the churnalism form of journalism the press releases, wire stories, and other kinds of pre-packaged material are utilized to generate articles for the newspapers and other news media. It is done to meet the increasing pressures of cost and time without performing further checking or research.

  • A monthly magazine (once in every month),
  • A weekly magazine (once in every week),
  • A fortnightly (once in every 2 weeks),
  • Quarterly (once in every 3 months),
  • Half-yearly (once in every 6 months),
  • Annually (once a year),

Ethics of Journalism

Journalism Ethics are rules of conduct for journalists. They are based on principles such as accuracy, fairness, objectivity, impartiality, honesty, integrity, accountability, transparency, respect for others, and responsibility.

Journalists should be honest with their readers and viewers. They should also be fair and accurate.

Journalists must follow these rules when they report on news events or write articles.


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