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The Functions of a Journalist Understanding the functions that media must fulfill in modern, free society
Functions of Journalism • There are ways to determine how well journalists do their jobs. • Traditionally, journalists in free society are charged with the following responsibilities or functions
The Political Function • Information on which we base political decisions • The Press is regarded as the “watchdog” of government and will cover in detail the activities of government. • It will fight attempts by government to do the public’s business behind closed doors. After all, it is our government! • It will watch for scandal and wrongdoing. • It will scrutinize budgets to see that the public’s money is being spent properly. • This function should be foremost of the press’s responsiblities… • Why?
The Economic Function • The public needs information about goods, products, and services. • Business, industrial, and agricultural news conveys this information, but so does advertising. • Advertising pays the bills!
The Sentry Function • The press watches society’s horizons…what is peeking over the horizon to challenge us tomorrow?? • The press must report not only what is happening today, but also what is likely to happen tomorrow. • Examples? • Police brutality? • Insurance and health needs of an aging population? • Hate groups, bullying, and bias? Heard of these issues? You HAVE because they have become public knowledge due to the press bringing them to public attention?
The Record-Keeping Function • The mass media should reflect an accurate record of local, national and world news. • Who was elected to the school board? What bills passed in Congress? What happened to the price of oil? • This is a basic function of the media. • Consumers need to know basic things, including this data.
The Entertainment Function • Mass media consumers need diversion/distraction as well as information. • There has to be a “lighter” element to appeal to all ages and interests.
The Social Function • Passing along the news created in a social situation in which people discuss their world
The Marketplace Function • The press provides the forum in which all sorts of ideas are presented. • Gets people mobilized and makes them take action.
The Agenda-Setting Function • Journalists don’t tell us what to think, but they do tell us what to think about. • Media has the power to determine what we talk about as individuals and address as a nation. • If the media places more attention/emphasis on a topic, people begin to pay more attention to that issue • Who sets the agenda?