Journalism Topics: 20 Subjects Briefly Explained

Direct Knowlege Contributor Taylor Bauer
  • By Taylor Bauer, Technical Writer & Digital Marketing Expert
  • Taylor is a writer and SEO manager with a B.S. in Political Communication from Illinois State University. He also received his M.S. in Communications from Illinois State. His background comes from journalism, working at an NPR member station for three years before transitioning to blogging and search engine marketing. He lives in Illinois with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards.

You likely consume news every single day. Whether it’s a report on current events or a piece on your favorite celebrity or athlete, journalism is a huge influence in our daily lives. You and I have access to thousands of news articles at the tip of our finger, thanks to the internet. With so many different journalism topics to keep up with, it’s tough keeping track of them all.

Journalism topics range in subject and tone depending on the nature of the industry. More news-focused topics in journalism like politics and economics are written straightforwardly and feature several pieces of data. More casual writing that highlights interests and hobbies features conversational tones and varying styles and structures. Across all journalism topics, writing clearly and effectively is key to creating a great piece or article. 

Journalism is a vital part of society that provides us with the means to gather, communicate, and even interpret events. Some journalism topics are rather mundane, focusing on entertainment or hobbies. Others are undoubtedly essential to maintaining freedoms in the modern world through encouraging transparency in government and finance as well as keeping people educated about current events. The following are some topics that apply to journalism on various levels.

Starting with the Basic Areas of Journalism

1. General Journalism

This area of journalism refers to the act of performing journalism and the study of its theoretical groundwork. This groundwork includes the process of news making, journalism principles and applications, the relation of news to reality, and the social functions of the press.

Both these areas can vary significantly between countries and regions based on various factors. Some governments try to control and limit journalism for personal gain. Others just don’t have the means to allow journalism to flourish. It is often a battle between power, ethics, and society to make journalism successful.

2. Visual Communication

Visual communication is the use of various information and ideas in a visible form. It involves the transmission of data through imagery and symbols. The field itself relies on eyesight in part or whole and is very prominent in advertising through visual media. This topic includes televisions, print publishing, and websites.

Journalists put visual communication to use when they report live, use photography, or create diagrams, caricatures, and cartoons. Visual stimuli help keep readers and viewers engaged, as well as explain ideas more clearly.

The Original Media Used in Journalism

3. Newspaper Reporting

Reporting for a newspaper is one of the classic and most common topics in journalism. It involves gathering news, interviewing subjects, writing stories, and much more to distribute current information to the public. The physical (or online) newspaper itself is just a small part of the process.

A newspaper reporter can either choose to work on specific specialized issues or deal with general topics and may either work for a larger firm or as a freelancer. They need to be adept at dealing with people, following leads, fact-checking information and being fair and thorough.

4. Broadcast Journalism

Broadcast journalism is a field of news which typically publishes by electronic means instead of other conventional methods like physical newspapers and magazines. Like other areas of journalism, it aims to present information in a concise, accurate, and exciting manner. But, it does so by using media such as radio, television, and the internet.

This diversity helps the information disperse more quickly while being more available to a greater audience of people. With broadcast journalism, news of events can be updated and efficiently communicated to millions of people across the globe almost instantaneously. However, it is also often much less formal, allowing for more flexibility in standards in areas such as social media.

Newer Media Recently Introduced to Journalism

5. Photojournalism

Photojournalism is a new form of journalism that uses compelling photography in addition to or in place of words to present information. It includes editing, collecting, and presentation news and other information for broadcast or publication. Traditionally it has only included images, but nowadays, videos featured in photojournalism.

While a regular journalist uses a paper and pen to tell their story, a photojournalist uses their camera to get a visual representation of the story. In short, this role can add impact to the viewer by helping them to imagine the reality of the story by primarily seeing it with their own eyes, if indirectly.

6. Social Media

Social media is a computer-based technology that brought about the sharing and creation of ideas, career interests, information, and other types of expression through networks and communities. It entirely relies on the internet, and it facilitates the sharing of knowledge and ideas and the building of cities and virtual networks.

As a topic in journalism, journalists can use social media in various ways to help reach a wider audience. Although social media is less formal than other journalistic avenues, this has its benefits. Through social media, journalists can share larger quantities of information, and personalize it more to their interests. They can also communicate directly with readers through online messaging and comments.

Fields in Journalism Heavy in Writing

7. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is a field of journalism in which writers are self-employed and working outside the confines of an office. It is a highly flexible form of work, allowing writers to work on various types of projects for different organizations and publications at one time.

The scope of the writer’s skills determines their level of pay for their work. Freelance writers usually get gigs from freelance websites that work to connect writers with clients in need of completing fitting projects.

8. Technical Writing

Technical writing is a style of writing that usually aims to solve different technical questions for different audiences. This topic in journalism usually involves writing for formal sources on severe or professional matters. These might range from technology to science, to world events and politics.

This form of writing requires instruction, direction, and, most importantly, explanation. Technical writers can prepare journal articles, instruction manuals, and some other documents to help communicate technical and complex information quickly.

Literature as a Topic in Journalism

9. Comparative Literature

Comparative literature studies the standard features of writing across geographical and national boundaries. It takes an interdisciplinary, intercultural, global perspective to explore the relationship between cultural expressions within different media.

Literature is not only compared to other writing, but also other parts of society such as government, entertainment, science, art, and more. This topic then helps us analyze and understand differences in cultures through time and location, and sheds light on historical events and modern movements. In this sense, it is similar to international relations. Both comparative literature and international relations are essential to successful journalism, especially in the global setting.

10. English Literature

You guessed it; English literature is the study of literature as expressed in the English language from around the world. It dates back a significant amount of time and covers every dominant genre and writing style. These days, the literature includes a growing number of mediums, expanding the field even further.

As a journalism topic, it is useful for ensuring proficiency and expertise in the language. While the communication of ideas and information is key in journalism, the way we do it is essential, too. The study of English literature allows for more considerable eloquence and precision in any given form of communication.

11. History of Literature

History of literature can define as a historical development of writings in poetry or prose that tries to provide enlightenment, entertainment, as well as instruction to the listener/observer/reader.
Studying this history applies to the field of journalism because it allows for the understanding of past methods.

Learning from the past then leads to the improvement of current practices. Like all historical study, it provides a reference which can show the effects of specific changes in the past. Then, with this reference, we can hopefully decide if particular actions should be repeated or avoided.

12. Literary Theory

Literary studies are the study of different works of imagination, of which drama, narrative fiction, and poetry constitute today the most familiar genres or types. Most teachers and students of literature, however, see it as a complicated matter. Literary studies can also define as a set of methods for examining the diversity and richness of experience through the use of language.

Journalists need to capture an audience through their work. Being familiar with literary theory gives them the tools to write in a captivating manner on whichever topic it may be. Then, literary devices can guide the reader through the thought process of the journalist or the story of someone about which the journalist is writing.

Areas in Journalism that Focus on Building Relations

13. Communications

Communication as a discipline generates messages that can be sent and understood across gaps between people. This topic means gaps in culture, language, knowledge, and other contexts that we experience daily with every other person we meet. Figuring out how to communicate ideas so that they close these gaps is an art that allows us to understand better our differences, as well as our similarities that we may not have even known existed.

Communications is (optimally anyway) applied in all areas of society. From necessary conversations and debates between people, as well as to negotiations between nations and businesses. Even the Voyager space telescope equipped to attempt communications with other lifeforms in the universe on its journey through space. In journalism, this topic helps ensure information gets across clearly to all available recipients.

14. Public Relations

Public relations means the relationship between various groups of people, such as the public, companies, and government agencies. The work of public relations includes projecting a positive image for a particular group when communicating with others. This process helps them achieve their goals by getting others on their side of an issue.

PR is becoming increasingly important in the modern world. The public can obtain information more quickly and form opinions on practically any given matter. Thus, it’s essential to maintain positive public relations in journalism to keep the audience focused on the information at hand without being distracted by other aspects of the organization.

Journalism Topics that Embrace Creativity

15. Creative Writing

Creative writing is an area that extends beyond the confines of writing news, education material, or other fact-based information. It includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction novels, short stories, playwriting, screenwriting, and more.

It usually emphasizes character development, narrative craft, and the use of literary tropes. Through these devices, it aims to elicit thoughts, feelings, and emotions from readers. These qualities help it reach readers on a deep level to share experiences and emotions that otherwise might be hard to capture. This role is why opinion pieces, short stories, and cartoons are common topics in journalism publications.

16. Poetry

Poetry is an aspect of literature that uses the rhythm and aesthetic qualities of languages to evoke meaning. These qualities include sound symbolism, meter, and phonaesthetics. These qualities let poetry express ideas and feelings with increased intensity and style, eliciting specific emotional responses through the choices in language.

Poetry and journalism don’t typically share a similar space, but there can still be some overlap. There is even significant research in the area by universities and foundations. They argue that poets can act as journalists by using poetic prose to convey perspectives that otherwise can’t be adequately present.

Fields in Journalism That Can Take You International

17. Foreign Correspondence

Foreign correspondence is the act of stationing journalists in various parts of the world to ensure reporting capabilities at a moment’s notice. A foreign correspondent is a journalist stationed in another country from their agency base, and who can cover a variety of topics. However, unlike a general reporter, they often focus on a specific item or specialization. They also act as the public’s eyes and ears around the world.

18. World Literature

World literature involves the circulation of work into the global sphere beyond its originated country. It also sometimes refers to the total of the research in the world. In the modern sense, world literature refers to the translation of a literary work into multiple languages around the world. Many journalistic sources are even translated into various languages to aid in their circulation across the globe. This process includes not only news but also more literary pieces and books circulating through websites focusing on journalism.

A Few Miscellaneous Subjects in Journalism

19. Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of the scientific side of language. It looks at the governing structures of words and the extent to which these structures are language-particular or universal. Through this study, it analyses the interactions of sound, meaning, grammar, ambiguity, semantics, and other characteristics of language and communication.

Language is an influential barrier between people of different ethnic, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. Thus, in the field of journalism, it is vital for creating a level playing ground where everyone understands one another, especially when working in areas with high variations in language. This role doesn’t even necessarily mean entire language barriers, but also just dialects can cause significant differences in communication and understanding between people.

20. Investigative Journalism

Investigative journalism involves reporters investigating a single topic of interest such as political corruption, corporate wrongdoing, and serious crimes. An investigative journalist can spend months and even years preparing and researching a report. Investigative journalism also reports on and probes private entities, government officials, and other items of interest. Because of the nature of the work, it can be especially dangerous. Large objects like governments and criminal organizations don’t want their wrongdoings coming to light thanks to journalists.

Conclusion

Finding ways to engage with new journalism topics can help you to become a more well-rounded reader. If you wanted to explore in writing, then reading more diverse areas of articles can help in that sense as well. Overall, exploring new topics outside of your primary interests helps expose you to new ideas and thoughts. I think everyone should try once a week to read something outside of their common interests. If you make this small effort once a week, then you can grow exponentially personally and professionally.

Why do you think journalism topics vary so much in the structure of their articles?

When do you think more news-centric topics become interesting to younger readers?

How can readers use broad journalism topics to increase their knowledge?

3 thoughts on “Journalism Topics: 20 Subjects Briefly Explained”

  1. I feel like social media is great for sharing information quickly, but it also has a tendency to make journalists distill and even distort information for the sake of getting the story out quickly. Hopefully regulations will help shift journalism back to more traditional forms.

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  2. Journalism’s turn in society has opened up many opportunities for those who want to get into the space but may not have all the tools. Social media, blogs, and websites that produce content is seen as journalism today and are seen by millions at the click of a button, with fresh content updated more frequently than a newspaper, for instance.

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  3. Journalism is still an industry though. I just hate it that click-bait has become king and headlines are misleading just for the sake of turning a profit.

    Reply

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