Television News


journalism, the collection and periodic publication or transmission of news through media such as newspaper, periodical, television, and radio.


The importance of journalism in modern society has been testified to by the establishment of schools of journalism at most of the world's leading universities. The earliest in the United States was established at the Univ. of Wisconsin (1905). Other early schools were at the Univ. of Missouri (1908) and Columbia Univ., whose school of journalism was endowed in 1903 but did not open until 1912. American schools of journalism have proliferated throughout the 20th cent.

Print Journalism

Journalism dates at least from the Acta Diurna of Rome (a series of public announcements that can be considered the prototype of the modern newspaper), but it was not until the 15th cent. that the invention of printing made possible its rapid growth. Daniel Defoe has been called the first journalist, as distinct from a writer. Modern journalism, however, began in the latter years of the 18th cent. with each venture serving, as it does in many countries to this day, as the proponent and voice of a political party or social group. Even in the 19th cent. journalists, despite their increased liberties in England and the United States, were largely controlled by political parties.

Except where it is under totalitarian state control, journalism has never been a monolithic enterprise, but has ranged as it continues to do from sensational pseudofact and scandal to high-quality reporting, evaluation, and opinion. Enterprising American newspaper editors in the mid-19th cent. influenced other journalistic media (e.g., the muckraking magazine and the independent periodical).

Technological Advance, Journalistic Change

Changes in journalism in the 20th cent. were fueled by technological advances: the teletypewriter (1904); long-range radio reception (1913); television (1930s–40s); communications satellite (1960s) transmission of data, voice, and video. Almost every new application in communications, data storage and retrieval, and image processing affects the way people get their news. While the influence of the print journalist may have declined in the face of technological advances and the growth of the news agency, radio reporters, such as Edward R. Murrow in the 1940s; television news broadcasters, such as Walter Cronkite from the 1950s through the 1970s; and many later television anchors and reporters became familiar names reporting events as they happened (e.g., the London blitz, funeral of John F. Kennedy, manned moon landing, Gulf and Iraq wars).

Television Journalism

By broadcasting events such as the Watergate hearings, controversial Supreme Court nomination hearings, and sensational criminal trials, television has in some ways minimized the journalist. Yet reports by journalists of the World Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation and Cable News Network, owned by Ted Turner and based in Atlanta, are transmitted around the world and provide news to world leaders in times of crisis.

The proliferation of cable television in the United States since the mid-1970s has led to a variety of news channels. As with print journalism, television journalism ranges from sensational, "tabloid" news shows ( "Inside Edition" ) to extensive journalistic coverage and interviews with government figures ( "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer" ) to a cable channel offering live, unedited coverage of congressional proceedings (C-SPAN).


See J. Hohenberg, The New Front Page (1966); A. K. MacDougall, ed., The Press (1972); R. A. Rutland, The Newsmongers (1973); D. Halberstam, The Powers that Be (1979); E. Diamond, Sign Off (1982); P. Seib, Who's in Charge? (1989); E. Case, The Press (1989); E. Bliss, Now the News: The Story of Broadcast Journalism (1991).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Television News: Selected full-text books and articles

If It Bleeds, It Leads: An Anatomy of Television News
Matthew R. Kerbel.
Westview Press, 2000
Harry Reasoner: A Life in the News
Douglass K. Daniel.
University of Texas Press, 2007
Making News Memorable: Applying Theory to the Production of Local Television News
Lang, Annie; Potter, Deborah; Grabe, Maria Elizabeth.
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Vol. 47, No. 1, March 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Poor Reception: Misunderstanding and Forgetting Broadcast News
Barrie Gunter.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1987
Live Reporting in Television News: Breaking News or Black Holes?
Tuggle, C. A.; Huffman, Suzanne.
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Vol. 45, No. 2, Spring 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Race and Ethnicity in Local Television News: Framing, Story Assignments, and Source Selections
Poindexter, Paula M.; Smith, Laura; Heider, Don.
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Vol. 47, No. 4, December 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
White News: Why Local News Programs Don't Cover People of Color
Don Heider.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Tales of Terror: Television News and the Construction of the Terrorist Threat
Bethami A. Dobkin.
Praeger Publishers, 1992
Computers in Broadcast and Cable Newsrooms: Using Technology in Television News Production
Phillip O. Keirstead.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
Mapping the Cultural Space of Journalism: How Journalists Distinguish News from Entertainment
Samuel P. Winch.
Praeger, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Evolution of Television News: Growing up in an Entertainment Medium"
Media Writing: Print, Broadcast, and Public Relations
W. Richard Whitaker; Janet E. Ramsey; Ronald D. Smith.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Writing Broadcast Copy" and Chap. 11 "Reporting for Radio and TV"
The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air
Steven Clayman; John Heritage.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
The Decade That Shaped Television News: CBS in the 1950s
Sig Mickelson.
Praeger Publishers, 1998
Phototruth or Photofiction? Ethics and Media Imagery in the Digital Age
Tom Wheeler.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
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