Academic journal article Researchers World

Journalism and Democracy: The Role of Journalism to Improve the Quality of Democracy in Indonesia

Academic journal article Researchers World

Journalism and Democracy: The Role of Journalism to Improve the Quality of Democracy in Indonesia

Article excerpt


What is Journalism?

According to Robert Nile (cited from Robert journalism is defined as a form of writing that tells people about things that really happened, but that they might not have known about already. He then describes that journalism is a work of gathering, writing, editing, and publishing or disseminating news, as through newspapers and magazines or by radio and television. The key point of the definition is "reporting event", making it known publically, using mass media.

In line with the above definition (Adam, 1993), defines journalism as a form of expression used to report and comment in the public media on events and ideas.

The above definition implies news printed in newspaper or broadcasted in television/radio program are journalists' understanding about events or social realities. This means journalists and or media have the opportunity of creating events or reality as they wish, leading to the creation of public's understanding about an issue or social reality. Event/issue itself has no value. Through framing strategy journalist is able to put a value on it to encourage public interest. Journalism is the art of creating or constructing news.

News is one kind of journalism product. According to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary: news is information reported in a newspaper, magazine, television news program, etc. According to Kurt Loder "news is anything that's interesting, that relates to what's happening in the world, what is happening in areas of the culture that would be of interest to your audience"1}. So, the basic element of news are interesting, factual, proximity, timely, and unsual.

News is what reporters, editors and producers decide as a news (Calvert, 2008). News is therefore a human product. Its advantage depends very much on who produce it.

In this context, the choice is laying on journalists' or media's whish. They hold the authority to do for good or bad manner.

The role and function of Journalism:

According to (Pickard, 1989) there are four rhetorical tradition in journalism practices that are: information, sensationalism, feature story, and didactic approaches. The journalist's choice will affect the meaning received by the audience. Journalists amplify, arbitrate, and create their own rhetoric about an event. Journalists gain audience's attention and convey messages about political violence, for example, by providing platform and amplification system by which this can be accomplished. This is part of rhetorical amplifier that can be played by journalists.

Journalism is a priceless profession in democratic countries. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States says "a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter"2). This is Thomas Jefferson appreciation to the role of journalism to build a nation. Journalism is, as part of freedom of speech, an important key to the success of democratic nation.

Mass media (journalism) play significant role as the most powerful agents of social reality construction. The pressure the media place on the way we perceive and conceive reality, on the way we think and act is tremendous (DeFleur, 1999, In (Enache, 2016). As change agent, media are able to shape portrayals of reality in ways that may in turn shape audience perception of media content (Enache, 2016); see also (Altheide, 1985); (Boorstin, 1971); (Ettema & Whitney(Eds), 1984); (Meyrowitz, 1985); (Nimmo & Combs, 1983); (Postman, 1985); (Rogers & Dearing, 1987)).

Historically, the role of journalism develops according to the development of social and political awareness and involvement of public/community in the governmental policies, and government willingness to provide public sphere to the public.

So far, I have used the word democracy for several times. What is then meant by democracy? Democracy is " a life form in which a collective will is formed bottom up"(need citation). …

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