Journalism is defined as the discipline of gathering, verifying, reporting and publishing of information regarding current events, issues and people through newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the new medium, the internet. People who practice journalism are identified as journalists.
Journalism is sometimes referred to as the first draft of history. Its main activity is to report major events and latest developments while answering the basic “W” questions of who, what, why, where and when. It focuses on covering institutions like government and businesses, as well as, the cultural side of the society like arts and entertainment.
Journalism comes in different forms but the common ideal setting is to inform the public. Among the known genres of journalism include investigative, muckraking, civic, business and photojournalism.
Investigative journalism is a genre of journalism that concentrates deeply on a single topic of interest. It typically demands a lot of investigative work in order to yield results. Reporters employ several means like going undercover, using whistleblowers or studying of neglected archives. Usually the topic involves crime, political corruption, environmental violations and corporate wrongdoings. The classic example is the reporting of the Watergate Scandal by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for The Washington Post which earned a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1973.
Muckraking is a type of investigative journalism that is reform-oriented. The journalist in this genre strives to search for and expose scandals and abuses and acts to perform a watchdog function. It was popular in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its rise corresponded with the Progressive Era. The influence of muckraking was great. In fact, Ralph Nader’s article, Unsafe at Any Speed in 1965, led to reforms in the automotive manufacturing in the U.S.
Civic journalism (also known as public journalism or citizen journalism) is journalism work that is produced by ordinary people. Readers and members of the community are encouraged and empowered to participate and play an active role in the collection, reporting and dissemination of news and information.
Business journalism is a journalism that is dedicated to covering every aspect of business. The coverage includes workplaces, companies, economic indicators and personal finance. This type rose to popularity in the 1990s. One of the top newspapers focusing on business journalism is The Wall Street Journal.
Finally, there is photojournalism. Photojournalism focuses on and utilizes images to convey the news story. It usually refers to still images but may also refer to broadcast videos. The main qualities of timeliness, objectivity and narrative set photojournalism apart from other branches and type of photography.