Types of Journalism (Which Is Right for You?)

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Types of Journalism (Which Is Right for You?)

Journalism is the activity of collecting, evaluating, generating and presenting information and news. A number of unique properties and practices distinguish it from other writing activities. These characteristics include reporting on current events with a level of scrutiny and standards not found in other forms of writing. Then, there are multiple types of journalism itself, leading to many options for potential journalists to consider.

The Importance of Different Types of Journalism in Modern Society

The standards of journalism not only separate it from other means of communication, but also makes it an essential tool in all democratic societies. History reveals that the most successful democratic societies provide their people with access to substantial news and information.

The impact of the news and current information in people’s lives is the primary purpose of journalism. News plays a vital role in empowering people through the dissemination of information to them. Information about world events, characters, and issues of the day allows them to play an active role in determining their own fates in society. Journalism supports critical decision making in businesses, governments, societies, and communities.

A high-quality journalist applies certain methods for collection and verification of information that people want and need. To a journalist, citizens and their needs matter most. Thus, determining what is most important to citizens is a big part of the job. A journalist can specialize in narrow fields or on broader general issues. However, in most cases, journalist prefers to have a concentration. Through the specialization, we get the various types of journalism.

Types of Journalism Regarding Hard News

Types of journalism can be broadly classified based on the kind of stories they tell. Hard news includes serious factual stories about current events, politics, government, and crimes. It generally delivers the information as clearly and thoroughly as possible in a straightforward and serious way.

Investigative Journalism

This particular group of journalists objectively work towards uncovering some hidden truths on a given matter, event, person, or topic of interest. This might include corporate wrongdoings, crimes, or corruption. An investigative journalist can spend a very long time, from months up to years, doing research and accumulating evidence for a given issue. These practitioners act as the watchdog in reporting where accountability is critical.

Investigation: Expenses

Investigative journalism is not only time consuming, but also expensive. Therefore, these investigations are carried out by the news organization working either locally or internationally. Some organizations which have not been in operation previously must depend on the support they get from the benefactors or the public to finance their activities.

Investigation: Dangers

Investigative journalism is found in principle in all journalism. That is, verification and reliable conveyance of facts is a common feature of all journalism. It’s just taken a step further in this area. Investigative reporters often have to work with uncooperative sources who may not be willing to divulge information, making it more dangerous. Sometimes, the investigative reporters carry out investigations and report of scandals that can impact institutions importantly impacting the public life.

However, due to the high costs, it is not always well-funded, and this has led to its gradual disappearance. The media stations too are suffering economic constraints as the advertisers are reducing their spending since they contain a lot of unfavorable details.

Investigation: The Daily Work Involved

The investigative journalist makes use of various tools to accomplish the work. This includes: Analyzing documents like lawsuits, government reports, tax reports, and other regulatory reports; sourcing information from the public records database; Investigating technical issues, which may include a thorough scan of government, business, and their impacts; researching both social and legal matters; subscribing to electronic resource centers; and carrying out several interviews to learn how some things happen.

News Journalism

This type of journalism refers to a more straightforward type of reporting. It is about conveying the facts of the new as they are without any alterations. This involves first relaying facts through a brief news story that consists of a headline and a partial explanation to orient the reader.

These pieces lack minor details, unlike the case of the investigative story. But they still give in-depth provision of information on a given issue, institution, sector or the organization. News journalists present their story in unbiased, accurate, and easy to understand language.

News journalists build the foundation of information and gather familiarity with the issue of concern. There is then room for provision of comments and insights by other professionals, or even by the consumer of the material.

News: Sourcing

News journalists aim to build a rapport with their information sources so that they are at liberty to visit them again and again. In some instances, the sources are not comfortable being reported. A certain level of trust with sources can grant them access to more sensitive material which the source wants to ensure is handled with care.

It is crucial for the news reporters always to contact their sources fast, collect the information promptly and within the prescribed deadline. Media sociologist suggests that news reporting happens because of the restricted time the journalist is allowed to have the stories covered. News journalism may not be useful for a full scoop. News reporters gather information from all the people they encounter while reporting.

Reporters might have to report from the same sources from time to time irrespective of the relationship established. They can visit, email, or call the information sources to collect data. When journalists gather experience in a given area, this gives them exposure to other leads.

Types of Journalism Regarding Soft News

Unlike hard news, soft news generally covers less serious topics such as sports, celebrities, arts, and culture. While there can be some overlap in topics, soft news is still generally delivered in a different manner involving more creative methods.

Review Journalism

This is a unique type of journalism in that reviews are partly based on facts and partly on the opinion. They generally review items like movies, books, sports, and other forms of entertainment. The reports are meant to achieve two things: accurate description of the subject matter, and a wise and well-informed opinion on the subject based on the journalist’s experiences and external research.

Reviews are one of the standard features in magazines and newspapers which enable writers to express their opinions. Numerous things require reviews from time to time, such as films, music, books, TV shows, and restaurants.

A review includes the following:

  • Maintaining a strong tone and focus
  • Using both objective and subjective language
  • Being factual and accurate when referencing the material
  • Implementing relevant arguments to support your own thoughts

Mastering this craft will win readers and followers. They will learn to trust the thoughts of the reviewer, and thus make decisions taking the reviews into account.

Reviews: Strong Focus

Using strong words and keeping a clear argument are key for a successful review. In writing a review, try to engage your readers while also letting them know what you’re going to cover. Be clear in your article what your review entails. Delayed leads make the reader lose interest. A delay might be necessary for initially hooking interest, but if too much it may not attain the purpose. After hooking them, lay out a simple but organized template and describe the work objectively.

Reviews: Language Use

For a successful investigation, ensure you are both objective and subjective. It takes personality and a unique style of writing for people to appreciate your literature. It then takes consistency of insightful commentary based on relevant information to keep them hooked.

Reviews: Accuracy

The reviewer is still a journalist; accuracy is very critical. Use the factual information that cannot easily bring disputes. Doing thorough research is necessary to avoid gross errors that can deter readers. This means making sure that references to the subject are accurate, and any information brought in from external sources is correct and applicable.

Reviews: Supporting Arguments

Give only an honest opinion about a product. Backup your criticism, including all the relevant details. Always make use of examples when possible, and cater to the audience of the review. For instance, if the review is about a comedy, use humor to get your points across.

Column Journalism

This type of journalism is based on individualized preferences for certain subject matter. The writer uses their preferred writing style to cover topics most interesting given their own personality. Columns are typically published on a weekly basis. Some columns that frequent newspapers and other media concern topics like fashion, advice, music, humor, and gossip. Other more serious or technical topics could include technology, investing, legal advice, or political opinion.

Column writers employ an interesting approach, generally having vast knowledge and experience in the subject of discussion due to their personal involvement in it. Thus, they are at liberty to expound on issues, events or even write about their personal experiences or opinions. Readers are drawn to any given column by the obvious expertise of its writer.

Feature Writing Journalism

Feature writing involves writing about the same topics as many other forms of journalism, but in a very different style. The style is typically in the form of a captivating story crafted with creativity and expression. It involves all of the characteristics of story writing including plot and characters acting in a full narrative, but covers non-fictional events.

This type of journalism evokes empathy from readers by throwing them into the perspective of others experiencing the events at hand. In some instances, they can even cover hard new topics in a soft news format. This makes current events more than just some flat words stated by a reporter. Rather, it turns the events into stories that readers can empathize with on a deeper level.

Types of Journalism by Medium

Print Journalism

This type of journalism is relegated to traditional magazines and newspapers. The medium can still hold the same information as other medium, thus a journalist can write for both print and other media at the same time. However, print media specifically seem to be falling out of style. Higher costs of physical materials, lower reader numbers, and the rise of so many other media on the internet have led to this change.

Broadcast Journalism

This type of journalism consists of broadcasts through radio and television. TV and radio are both still widely used, and have some unique characteristics. TV is generally limited to having little or no interaction with viewers during live broadcast. However, it can have large budgets and resources that allow it to make up for this with high quality content.

Radio on the other hand can have a large amount of interaction. But, it’s all done live, limiting the number of participants and forming some sort of competition. It also typically has smaller budgets, limiting coverage of stories and variety of content.

Multimedia and Internet Journalism

This is the latest and the fastest-growing type of journalism which primarily focuses on the internet. It can be said to include multiple media because a web page may contain audio, video and photos. The internet holds many opportunities for various types of journalism, and is arguably the way of the future.

Types of Journalism: Final Line

Each type of journalism holds its own challenges and way of functioning. Some are more relaxed, focusing on giving people an emotional outlet. Entertainment and gossip are perhaps silly, but also important parts of enjoying human existence. Providing these outlets is an important job for journalists.

On the other side of the coin, journalism is vital for more serious parts of a democratic society. Essentially, the media acts as the watchdog on behalf of the society. It is through the media that the officials and higher-ups in society get to know the expectations of them by the public, and the public understand the happenings of the world around them.

In the later type of journalism there is more pressure to
perform to a high standard, with greater consequences for mistakes and greater
pressure to provide the highest quality content. But similarly, the rewards for
a job well done are incredible. Whichever types of journalism you prefer, you
can be sure that as a journalist you will provide a great service by helping people
stay informed and active in society.

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About the author Megan Matheney
Professional technical writer specializing in material relating to Earth sciences, environmental economics, and developmental economics. Megan has a B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Texas at Austin, as well a M.S. in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University of Glasgow. She has worked in the government sector for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and currently lives in Mexico City where she works as a freelancer.

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