Types of Newspaper Journalism
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Types of Newspaper Journalism

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Journalism and Newspapers

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Journalism Styles

Location, readership, political climate, and competition all contribute to rapid transformations in journalistic models and writing styles.

Over time, however, certain styles—such as sensationalism— have faded or become linked with less serious publications, such as tabloids.

Others styles have developed to become prevalent and accepted in modern-day journalism and reporting.

New Approach

New Approach

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New Approach

In the late 1800s, a majority of publishers believed that they would sell more papers by reaching out to specific groups. As such, most major newspapers employed a partisan approach to writing, churning out political stories and using news to sway popular opinion.

This all changed in 1896 when a then-failing paper, The New York Times, took a radical new approach to reporting: employing objectivity, or impartiality, to satisfy a wide range of readers.

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Objective Journalism

From the beginning most major newspapers employed a partisan approach to writing, churning out political stories and using news to sway popular opinion.

This all changed in 1896 when a failing paper, The New York Times, took a radical new approach to reporting: employing objectivity, or impartiality, to satisfy a wide range of readers.


The objective journalistic style, demands that journalists maintain a neutral voice in their writing and reporting.

Technique

Technique

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Common Technique

One technique employed in modern journalism is the inverted pyramid style. This style requires objectivity and involves structuring a story so that the most important details are listed first for ease of reading.

This style is easier to complete in the short deadlines imposed on journalists, particularly in today’s fast paced news business.

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Interpretive Journalism

Interpretive journalism was developed in the 1930s and is used to explain issues and provide readers with a broader context for the stories they encounter.

An interpretive journalist goes beyond the basic facts of an event or topic to
provide context, analysis, and possible consequences.

Interpretive journalism attempts to provide readers with a more analytical interpretation of the news in an increasingly interrelated world.

Interpretations

Interpretations

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Interpretations

When this new style was first used, readers responded with great interest to the new editorial perspectives that newspapers were offering on events.
But interpretive journalism posed a new problem for editors: the need to separate straight objective news from opinions and analysis.

In response, many papers in the 1930s and 1940s introduced weekend
interpretations of the past week’s events and interpretive columnists with bylines.

As explained by Stephen J. A. Ward, in his article, on Journalism Ethics, ”the goal of these weekend features was to “supplement objective reporting with an informed interpretation of world events.”

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe

Truman Capote

Truman Capote

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Literary Journalism

Stemming from the development of interpretive journalism, literary journalism began to emerge during the 1960s.

This style, made popular by journalists Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote, is often referred to as New Journalism and combines factual reporting with sometimes fictional narration.

Literary journalism follows neither the formulaic style of reporting of objective
journalism nor the opinion-based analytical style of interpretive journalism. Instead, it brings voice and character to historical events.

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Truman Capote

Truman Capote responded to Wolfe’s new style by writing In Cold Blood, which Capote termed a nonfiction novel, in 1966. The tale of an actual murder that had taken place on a Kansas farm some years earlier, the novel was based on numerous interviews and painstaking research.

Capote claimed that he wrote the book because he wanted to exchange his “self-creative world … for the everyday objective world we all inhabit.” The book was praised for its straightforward, journalistic style.

Tom Wolfe

Wolfe was the first reporter to write in the literary journalistic style. In 1963, while his newspaper, New York’s Herald Tribune, was on strike, Esquire magazine hired Wolfe to write an article on customized cars.

Wolfe gathered the facts but struggled to turn his collected information into a written piece. His managing editor, Byron Dobell, suggested that he type up his notes so that another writer could complete the article. Wolfe typed up a document that described his research and sent it to Dobell.

Dobell was so impressed by this piece that he simply deleted the “Dear Byron” at the top of the letter and published the rest of Wolfe’s letter in its entirety.

During the 1960s and 1970s, authors simulating the styles of both Wolfe and Capote flooded magazines such as Esquire and The New Yorker with articles.

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Effects of Literary Journalism

Although literary journalism certainly affected newspaper reporting styles, it had a much greater impact on the magazine industry.

Because they were bound by fewer restrictions on length and deadlines,
magazines were more likely to publish this new writing style than were newspapers.

Influence

Influence

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Influence

Literary journalism also significantly influenced objective journalism. Many literary journalists believed that objectivity limited their ability to critique a story or a writer. Some claimed that objectivity in writing is impossible, as all journalists are somehow swayed by their own personal histories.

Still others, including Wolfe, argued that objective journalism conveyed a “limited conception of the ‘facts,’” which “often effected an inaccurate, incomplete story that precluded readers from exercising informed judgment.”

Advocacy

Advocacy

Advocacy

Precision

Precision

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Advocacy and Precision Journalism

Precision journalism emerged in the 1970s. In this form, journalists turn to polls and studies to strengthen the accuracy of their articles.

The reactions of literary journalists to objective journalism encouraged the growth of two more types of journalism: advocacy journalism and precision journalism.

Advocacy journalists promote a particular cause and intentionally adopt a biased, nonobjective viewpoint to do so effectively.

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Precision

This type of journalism adds a new layer to objectivity in reporting, as articles no longer need to rely solely on anecdotal evidence; journalists can employ hard facts and figures to support their assertions.

An example of precision journalism would be an article on voting patterns in a presidential election that cites data from exit polls.

Precision journalism has become more popular as computers have become more prevalent. Many journalists currently use this type of writing.

Advocacy

Serious advocate journalists adhere to strict guidelines, as an advocate journalist is not the same as being an activist.

A journalist writing for the advocacy press should practice the same skills as any journalist. You don’t fabricate or falsify. If you do you will destroy the credibility of both yourself as a working journalist and the cause you care so much about. News should never be propaganda. You don’t fudge or suppress vital
facts or present half-truths.

Despite the challenges and potential pitfalls inherent to advocacy journalism, this type of journalism has increased in popularity over the past several years.

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Advocacy Journalist

Oprah Winfrey has long used her show as a platform for issues and concerns, making her one of today’s most famous advocacy journalists.

While many praise Winfrey for using her celebrity to draw attention to causes she cares about, others criticize her techniques, claiming that she uses the advocacy style for self-promotion.

Sara Grumbles claims in her blog “Breaking and Fitting the Mold”: Oprah Winfrey obviously practices advocacy journalism…. Winfrey does not fit the mold of a ‘typical’ journalist by today’s standards. She has an agenda and she voices her opinions.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah Winfrey

Television talk-show host and owner of production company Harpo Inc., Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful, recognizable entrepreneurs of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Winfrey has long been a news reporter, beginning in the late 1970s as a co-anchor of an evening television program. She began hosting her own show in 1984, and as of 2010, the Oprah Winfrey Show is one of the most popular television programs on the air.

Regardless of the arguments about the value and reasoning underlying her technique, Winfrey unquestionably practices a form of advocacy journalism. In fact, thanks to her vast popularity, she may be the most compelling example of an advocacy journalist working today.

Types of Newspaper Journalism

Consensus versus Conflict

Conflict

Conflict

Another important distinction within the field of journalism must be made between consensus journalism and conflict journalism. Consensus journalism typically takes place in smaller communities, and serve as a forum for many different voices.

Newspapers that use consensus-style journalism provide community and meeting notices and run articles on local schools, events, government, property, crimes, and zoning. These newspapers can help build civic awareness and a sense of responsibility among readers in a community.

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Conflict

Conversely, conflict journalism, like that which is presented in national and international news articles in The New York Times, typically occurs in national or metropolitan dailies. Conflict journalists define news in terms of societal discord, covering events and issues that contravene perceived social norms. In this style of journalism, reporters act as watchdogs who monitor the government and its activities.

Conflict journalists often present both sides of a story and pit ideas against one another to generate conflict and, therefore, attract a larger readership. Both conflict and consensus papers are widespread. However, because they serve different purposes and reach out to differing audiences, they largely do not
compete with each other.

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