Discovering Journalism

Discovering Journalism

Discovering Journalism

Discovering Journalism


Journalism is the branch of mass communications that provides large numbers of people with the knowledge they need to help them make good decisions about issues currently affecting their personal and public lives. Journalism not only provides news but also presents interpretation, evaluation, and persuasion. Any discussion about journalism requires a common understanding of basic terms and concepts. By defining what journalism is, this book provides the answers to many questions and debates about the current state of the mass media: What is news? Is journalism concerned with more than news? What are the purposes of editorials? Is it good or bad to combine journalism and fiction? Is it possible to report the news objectively? How are public relations and advertising related to journalism? This coherent, general theory explores the function and roles of journalism vital to our personal and public well-being and offers valuable insight in areas affected by journalism such as politics, education, and the law.


In excitement and importance, few human enterprises surpass the making of a discovery. The excitement increases when we recognize that what we have found is, like a long-buried dinosaur bone, the old become new. The excitement is even greater when we realize that our discovery reopens and helps explain much of the world around us.

This is a book devoted to discovering journalism. Journalism, of course, has never been buried but has long been right on the surface of human affairs. It has been before our very eyes, but strangely--perhaps because of its seeming familiarity--we have not yet really lifted it up and subjected it to examination. We have talked about it. We have scuffed it, crunched it, and complained about it. But we have not adequately examined it as a vital part of our whole way of living.

The aim of this book, therefore, is quite simple. It involves, first of all, blowing the dust off journalism and setting forth what exactly we now can find it to be. It will come as no surprise when we discover that it is a peculiarly human activity and one that touches and affects almost every other facet of personal and civic endeavor. Thus our next objective--a more difficult and lengthy one--will be to describe how journalism interacts with, affects, and is affected by the world around us. We should not be surprised if, along the way, and as many who engage in an expedition of discovery are wont to do, we come to new realizations as to how journalism and the world might better achieve a beneficent coexistence.

Who will be the fellow members of our expedition? They include, of course, all those who, when writing their biographies, can say, "I am a journalist." (We may be surprised at the large number who deserve that appellation, and perhaps, also, at some of those who do not.) Also included are those who are being educated to be journalists and those who are doing the educating. In . . .

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