Monday, January 23, 2012

what is journalism?

Growing up, I pictured journalism as newspapers and books, coffeehouses and newsrooms. Now, journalism has rapidly expanded to the internet, with newspapers becoming more and more obsolete, and observers are left wondering what journalism is now or if there is even a concrete way to define it.

Here's what has to say:


[jur-nl-iz-uhm] noun
1. the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business.
2. press
3. a course of study preparing students for careers in reporting, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines.
4. writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing as distinguished from scholarly writing: He calls himself a historian, but his books are mere journalism.
Our class readings pointed us in the direction that journalism (and journalists) seeks truth to give to the public. In our day, with the vast use of the internet, basically anyone can call him or herself a journalist. But does he/she have a diploma? Does he/she have a degree? Or is all that he/she has a username that will allow him/her to post whatever they want?
But really, does any of that even matter? Even if the person doesn't have a degree in journalism, it doesn't mean that he/she isn't entitled to opinions. In my opinion, what matters is if the information is sound and the facts are true. That is what makes it journalism and that is what people will read.
In my Islam studies class the other day, we had a guest speaker, Imam Shuaib (check out his website here: When asked about media and journalism and how his culture is portrayed, he remarked that journalism is a business. He wasn't disparaging it, he was simply saying that journalists need to make money and they depict what they see in society as accurately as they can.
There are many different interpretations of journalism, no definition is sure to stand the test of time. But one thing is for sure: it will always be changing and evolving, and it will never be confined to being what it once was.

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