What Is the Meaning of Journalism?

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Journalism, simply, is the process of compiling information and sharing that information with an audience that needs or wants that information. Learn about the ability of journalism to create and maintain culture with help from a journalism professor in this free video on careers in journalism.

Part of the Video Series: Careers in Journalism
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So what is journalism? That's a question with a lot of answers. I think at its most obvious level journalism is simply compiling information and sharing that information with an audience that wants or needs that information. But in perhaps a less obvious sense journalism is about creating and maintaining and even repairing culture. Here is an example of that, political coverage. When you read political coverage as a consumer of news in one sense you are having information transmitted to you by a journalist that has gathered this information and it's information you want or need or perhaps both in order to make a good decision in the upcoming election but at the same time think about what's going on when you read that article. In a way you and the media are participating in a ritual, a ritual that defines politics as something important, something you should care about as a citizen and by engaging this ritual of reading this news of absorbing this content, you are helping to create the notion that politics and democracy and elections are important. You are helping to maintain that notion by participating in it and you are helping even to repair it when things go wrong for example with coverage, when people perceive journalists as being too harsh or maybe not harsh enough. There is usually an outcry and there is usually kind of a correction and there is usually kind of a sense of in the United States this is what we mean by politics and let's get back to that. So there are those two levels to journalism. It's about sharing information. It's also about this ritual that helps create a culture that existed before this process and is now influenced by this process.

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