What is journalism? JOUR 2601, January 31, 2014
Let’s analyze these stories in groups. • 1. http://www.denverpost.com/weathernews/ci_25026172/winter-storm-pounds-mountains-thursday-denver-overnight • 2. http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_25025708/peyton-manning-says-broncos-peaking-super-bowl?source=nav • 3. http://www.denverpost.com/lifestyles/ci_25021864/orange-is-color-more-than-broncos-players-and • Pick out the Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Journalistic Principles • Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth • Its first loyalty is to its citizens • Its essence is a discipline of verification • Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover • It must serve as an independent monitor of power • It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise • It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant • It must keep the news comprehensive and in proportion • Its practitioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience • Citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news.
Press as gatekeeper • Historically, the press was seen as a bulwark of liberty; they served the governed, not the governors. • The press has often been defined as a gatekeeper, deciding what information the public should know and setting the agenda. This no longer holds true • Rise of the Internet, blogosphere, citizen journalism and “we media” • “Technology is transforming citizens from passive consumers of the news produced by professionals into active participants who can assemble their own journalism from disparate elements.” • New journalist is no longer deciding what audiences should know, she is helping audiences make order out of it.
Evolution of the Press • First task is to verify what information is reliable, and then order it so people can grasp it efficiently • Pro-sumer: A hybrid of consumer and producer
Theory of the Interlocking Public • No more than 15 percent of your readers would want to read any one story on the page. • The notion that people are simply ignorant, or that other people are interested in everything, is a myth. • Three levels of public engagement on every issue • Involved public – those with a personal stake • Interested public – but with no direct role • Uninterested public – pays little attention
Journalism and democracy • The Mirror: Society can see itself, warts and all • Watchdog: Starts barking at the corruption of power • Marketplace of ideas • What does democracy need from the press…?
Journalism and democracy cont. • Information dissemination • Accountability • Representation • Deliberation and conflict resolution
Journalism and democracy cont. • Press performs at least five core functions in democracy: • Journalism informs, analyses, interprets and explains • Journalism investigates • Creates a public conversation • Encourages accountability • Generates social empathy