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Module 1: Elements of Journalism

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Introduction to Journalism

Lesson Summary

Function of Journalism

Journalism requires a commitment of time -- to work, to write and to polish and improve skills.

The four main motives that people enter journalism are : to write, be known, to influence and knowledge.

As a journalist your constant questions must be:
• What is happening?
• Who is doing it?
• Why?

All journalists must aim for accuracy and develop a system for checking facts.

What Is News

Passing on information, as long as it is interesting and informative, is an important function of the media.

A story should meet the following criteria, is it: new, unusual, significant or about people.

Journalists must build and retain the trust of their audiences by behaving in an ethical and professional manner.

A journalist writing a news story is the author, organizer and decision maker.

For an article to be credible, facts and opinion must be attributed.

Gathering Information

A Journalist is NOT expected to know everything, but must learn where to find information on any topic.

You must always be researching information, uncovering facts, and asking questions.

Interviewing is a craft, with skills that can be learned, developed and improved.

Journalists find, verify, enrich and then disseminate information.

Writers can make vast improvements in their ability to keep notes by developing a personalized form of shorthand using abbreviations.

An enterprising reporter might arrange to get an advance copy of the speech so he can be more aware of how the speech is delivered. Indeed, the reporter can write much of the story prior to the actual speech.

Reporters must be cautious, however, for the speaker who discards his speech for another, or for speakers who make important impromptu remarks during the course of their speeches.