Uploaded by Avery Cheng


Defining Journalism
An Introduction
Traditionally Journalism is definied as
bringing the news of the day—material of
current interest or importance– to an
 Yet this definition has blurred, at least in
the eyes and ears of consumers.
 What do you think has caused the
definition to blur?
Journalism-The Challenges
As technology (social networks, online
RSS feeds) of journalism has diversified,
the lines between journalism and gossip,
between journalism and entertainment,
have narrowed.
At the high school level, journalism is still
best approached as the process of
reporting and writing the news and
packaging it for an audience. Whatever
the technology, news is information that
must be collected and presented to a
News—or journalism– is only one part of
what is called media.
 Journalism is not the movies, book
publishing, public relations, corporate
communications, television sitcoms, radio
talk shows, websites (with the exception
of newspaper websites), or any other sub
divisions of mass communication.
Because journalism results in a product, it
can be studied as a discipline.
 Journalism is a laboratory in which the
goal is production by a team, just as it is
in the professional press.
Hurricane Issac lashes Gulf coast in a slow Churn
 Ann Romney, Chris Christie vouch for Mitt’s heart
and spine
 Teen tried for allegedly impersonating a Physician
 Wynonna resumes tour after husband’s crash
 Madonna tells America, Enjoy your freedom
 Katie and Tom finalize their divorce
 Is Lindsey Lohan too skinny?
 Kris Kardashian’s love affair, will Bruce forgive
Lesson 1: Is it news?
Roles for a Publication:
If you were in charge how would you rank
the ten roles for a publication, from the
following slides?
News Reporting-to what degree will you
report what does on in school—the good,
the bad, the past, present, future? What do
you consider news? Should you produce
anything but news?
Entertainment-how important is giving your
audience an emotionally rewarding break
from academic life, including a focus on the
humorous, light side of themselves? If it
isn’t serious, can you tell if it is news?
3. Matter of Record-to what extent will you
report all events during the school year so
there will be a record of the year for others
to look back on? What details are
important? To what extent are you
producing history? Is journalism history on
the run?
4. School Spirit-how responsible are you for
stressing the positive and for helping
readers see the good side of the school
year? Are you a cheerleader, obliged to
publicize and promote school life?
5. Community Image-Is the community
beyond your high school campus part of your
audience? How important is it to give
community residents a positive image of
school events? Does it matter what that
they, as parents and citizens, think about
your school?
6. Educational skills-how important is it for you
to learn and practice the professional
standards of journalism education? Should
the commercial press be your model? Is high
school journalism the first step in a career?
7. Reader Culture-how far should you go in
giving your readers and viewers what they
want, no matter what it is? Should your
journalistic judgment supersede theirs? Will
they buy your product if it does?
8. Leadership-to what extent will you show
your audience what alternatives and choices
might exist to resolve problems and conflicts
at your school? To what extent will you try to
control or influence their decisions?
9. Public Forum-How much opportunity will
you provide for your audience to express
their views, to sound off on whatever they
want? Are all topics open to public
10. Interpretation-To what degree will you
try to explain how events, issues, and
personalities are tied together and affect
student life at your school?
Setting Priorities with Teamwork
◦ While all 10 goals listed have validity, a publication or
broadcast staff must generate some agreement on which
ones are most important if it’s to develop a consistent
product. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your readers.
◦ The way to set priorities is through discussion.
◦ Journalism is a group effort from beginning to end. In
the commercial press, journalism requires specialists
whose work blends together as the publication or
broadcast is produced. At the high school level,
journalism is more likely to be the work of generalists,
beginners who do a little bit of everything because that’s
the best way to learn.
◦ Goals need to be argued on a regular basis—they form
the foundation of what you’re going to learn to do.
Here are a few thoughts about the
Primary Roles:
1. News Reporting-The difficulty of setting
this goal as a high priority is determining
what is news. As a journalist you are a
gatekeeper-you, not the audience,
decide on what news items will be
presented. Once you forfeit your right to
control access, you stop being a
Journalism-Primary Roles
2. Entertainment-This function has evolved
as a strong priority for most forms of
journalism-to the dismay of traditionalists
who see information and truth as
journalism’s most noble goal. Yet news
and entertainment have long coincided in
the same journalistic medium. The
question here is balance.
Primary Roles
3. Matter of Record-this journalistic purpose
takes highest priority in the yearbook,
which by definition, defines the year.
Professional papers do this too-notice the
detail recorded in the stock market report,
score boxes on the sports page, or the
weather page.
Primary Roles
4. School Spirit-Journalism and promotion are
not the same thing, so this priority might be
low. You might run into conflict with school
officials who would only like you to present
the school in a positive light. Other students
may see your job as a publicity agent for
their activities. Don’t dismiss this goal—learn
to understand its importance to others and
your school environment. You should also
get used to the blaming the messenger
element in journalism, in which you get
criticized for what you print and don’t print.
Primary Roles
Community Image-This goal deals with public
relations, implying that because adults outside
the school may read the newspaper, it should
be written with them in mind. You need to
prioritize your audience.
Educational skills-journalism class, like any
other course offered in your school, ought to
develop useful skills in those who take it,
especially if students are considering journalism
as a profession. That is argument for
developing as professional an approach as
possible for what you are learning.
Primary Roles
7. Reader Culture-This is a tempting priority
fraught with risks. If your sure your
audience is homogeneous, it’s easy to
address their tastes, but you might end
up with a crossword puzzle magazine or a
comic book. Awareness of their needs is
good, but it can’t conflict with the other
Primary Roles
8. Leadership-It’s quite easy for the
newspaper to have influence on certain
areas or on specific issues, but journalists
disagree on the importance of this goal.
Traditional journalists argue that the press
should report the news in a neutral
manner and not try to influence decisions.
Yet the more active leadership role of the
press in influencing public behavior has
been clear for quite some time.
Primary roles
9. Public Forum-This purpose has legal
implications. Getting agreement from the
school administration that your publication is,
indeed, a public forum is the best way to
avoid censorship.
10. Interpretation-this function deserves high
priority in all forms of student journalism
because it takes the audience beyond the
superficial and tries to explain the
environment in which they spend so much
time. But it is difficult to be consistent with
Primary Roles
Paying your way-generating profit, how
will it affect our reader culture?
 Showcase-providing created students with
an outlet for publication can be seen as a
role if you put the audience first. Do we
support our school events just because
they entertain an audience? Yet where
would these activities be without an
audience? Where would we be without an
Other Roles
What are our Rights?
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press; or the
right of the people peaceably to assemble,
and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.
The First Amendment to the US
Constitution as a part of the Bill of
In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969),
the Supreme Court extended free speech rights to students in school. The case
involved several students who were punished for wearing black armbands to protest
the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court ruled that the school could not restrict
symbolic speech that did not cause undue interruptions of school activities. Justice
Abe Fortas wrote,
[S]chools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess
absolute authority over their students. Students...are possessed of fundamental
rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their
obligations to the State.
However, since 1969 the Supreme Court has placed a number of limitations on Tinker
interpretations. In Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986), the Court
ruled that a student could be punished for his sexual-innuendo-laced speech before
a school assembly and, in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988), the Court
found that school newspapers enjoyed fewer First Amendment protections and are
subject to school censorship. More recently, in Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393
(2007) the Court ruled that schools could, consistent with the First Amendment,
restrict student speech at school-sponsored events, even events away from school
grounds, if students promote "illegal drug use."
(summary from wikipedia)
School Speech
What’s the difference?
Ethical issues Student
Journalists Face
From HSJ.org
Conflict of interest: Examples include interviewing friends; only
interviewing one grade or those with a specific point of view; "getting
even" with those who might have wronged you; doing anything that
might compromise objectivity in the reporting of the truth.
 Plagiarism: Claiming others' work as one's own, essentially stealing from
them. Students must credit other people's materials and ideas, including
those published in newspapers, magazines and books. This includes
"borrowing" or downloading visuals from the Internet to use without
permission with stories.
 Anonymous sources: Although many reporters use anonymous sources,
there are rules about when to use them. A reporter has to determine the
information's value and whether is it possible to get it any other way. She
also has to determine whether she needs to protect the source from harm
from being an identified source. A comment about the cafeteria's food
should not be permitted to remain anonymous, for example, but a
revelation about suffering child abuse may be.
 Offending or distasteful content: Although it is impossible to run any
story without offending, insulting or displeasing someone, student
journalists must strive to keep the press open and accessible to a wide
range of views without stooping to gratuitous offense. While some use of
"dirty" language might be necessary, journalists have to decide if there is
another way to present the information or if the presentation will be so
offensive it will preclude readers from getting the information.
Invasion of privacy: While this is often a legal issue, it is also an ethical
one. Student - and professional - reporters must consider the
consequences of publishing the outstanding news value photo or naming
someone in an article.
 Bias: Human beings cannot be purely objective. The mere selection of
one story over another raises the issue of value judgments. Those who
create content must attempt to be as fair and impartial as is possible.
Every issue has more than one side, and all sides should be represented
as much as possible. Student journalists trying to be objective should not
avoid exploration, experimentation and variety in the press.
 Commitment to accuracy: Little undermines integrity and, therefore,
effectiveness of the media more than carelessness (or deceit) leading to
inaccuracy in the press. Not publishing information is almost always
better than publishing inaccurate information. The rush to be first, prized
today and available to anyone now with the Internet, is no justification for
not checking out data, information and sources.