Journalism is the work and distribution of reports on the interaction of events, facts, ideas, and people that are the “news of the day” and that informs society to at least some degree. The word applies to the occupation (professional or not), the methods of gathering information, and the organizing literary styles. Journalistic media include: print, television, radio, Internet, and, mainly in the past, newsreels (cinema) and word of mouth (oral tradition).

In some nations, the news media is controlled by government intervention, and is not a fully independent body.[1] In others, the news media is independent from the government but the profit motive is in tension with constitutionalprotections of freedom of the press. Access to freely available information gathered by independent and competing journalistic enterprises with transparent editorial standards can enable citizens to effectively participate in the political processes.

The role and status of journalism, along with that of the mass media, has undergone profound changes over the last two decades with the advent of digital technology and publication of news on the Internet.[2] This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers, smartphones, and other electronic devices, challenging news organizations to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the context in which they publish news in print. Notably, in the American media landscape, newsrooms have reduced their staff and coverage as traditional media channels, such as television, grapple with declining audiences. For instance, between 2007 and 2012, CNN edited its story packages into nearly half of their original time length.

The course contains six topics – what makes a good news story; writing news; writing features; opinion writing; politics and journalism; and investigative journalism – and explores these in relation to a case study running throughout the six weeks. Although the scenario is entirely fictitious.

 

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