Defining today’s journalism | By Jubel D’Cruz


Defining today’s journalism

TODAY’S journalism is a far cry from what it used to be earlier. In the past, you received majority of your news and information from your local newspaper published every morning.

If you didn’t get it there, you watched the evening news on television after dinner. And in a few national newspapers, and that was it.

Today, relying on only one source to receive all of your news and information seems unheard of.

Newspapers are still around today, but we have so much more to go along with them. We don’t have to wait for an entire day for our news anymore.

Now we see the news as it’s happening instead of getting recaps of it the next day. With the rise of the internet and the 24/7 news station, we have an abundance of news sources directly at our fingertips.

Journalism as a whole has changed in response. Instead of having time to fact check, journalists are urged to be the first to break the story.

This rush to first often leads to misinformation being published, causing confusing and sometimes outrage. What used to be a cardinal sin is now less of an issue because being the first to hit publish is such a priority.

Let’s take a look at what journalism is today and some of the people changing it. Journalism is the act of gathering, assessing, creating and presenting news and information.

It is also the product of these activities. Journalism is the product of every newspaper you read, every news station you watch, and every news article you read on the internet.

Journalism is meant to place the public good above all else and uses specific methods to gather and assess information.

In other words, journalism is meant to benefit the people, and journalists should routinely check what they’re reporting on to be sure the information is verified and accurate.

Another side effect of the internet and the amount of data at our fingertips is the rise of data journalism. Data journalism is the use of data and number crunching to uncover, better explain, or provide context to a news story.

Data can be the tool used to tell a story, the source upon which a story is based, or both at the same time. It often involves the use of statistics, charts, and infographics.

Data journalism has become important because in today’s world, anyone with a smartphone and a social media account can be a journalist.

Multiple sources add information over social media, blogs, and videos as the news story is happening. Today’s journalists also face a new set of challenges.

They’re no longer the runaway experts in the fields they write in. Today, their readers may be smarter, and better informed than they are.

One thing journalists don’t have on their side anymore is time. They have to be first. They have to be fast.

They don’t have time anymore to become deeply engrossed in their stories. They don’t have time to learn and to ponder on their stories. They rely on quotes from other experts to shape their stories.

True investigative journalism is an art that is slowly fading. One of the main reasons is the money isn’t there for it anymore.

Doing a real investigative piece takes a lot of time, which in turn takes a lot of money. The ad revenue they’d earn for the story would likely be a small fraction of what it cost to produce it.

Because of this, investigative journalism is being replaced by 5-10 blog posts a day that will never have as much substance as an actual investigative piece.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Mumbai, India

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