Journalism - Facts & Directory

Journalists need to be able to find resources that can give them information they need in order to write a concise article. With every topic and every story there are facts that need to be told in order for readers to be able to gain knowledge of the overall issue. Well written articles are not only read but remembered and in conversation many people refer to information that they have obtained through an article. This is the reason why a journalist should use facts from legitimate resources in their written work. Many times a story is being told about a location such as a state, city or country and there are facts about the location that need to be stated in order to give a description of the location that is the topic of the story. In this type of work almanacs, maps, atlases and geopolitical resources are very useful. A journalist is able to obtain full color physical and political maps, statistics. These resources also give information on the population, climate, history, religion. All of this data can become extremely helpful.

There is also the library of congress which has studies on 91 countries. These studies gives descriptions and analyzes the social, economical and political aspects of each country. These studies are written by teams of social scientists. They also analyze the interrelationships of certain countries and how they integrate socially and economically. This information can be of great help when a journalist is writing an article or story on cultural differences and how the environment of each country influences it's people. The cultural differences tie into why some countries are able to relate to one another when others are not. The Getty thesaurus of geographic names is another resource that is helpful with geographical information. It will bring up records of the location that you are searching for. There are times when a journalist wants to be able to visualize a geographical location by being able to see the distance of it, what other locations is it near and any other information that can be useful. Google maps has a very powerful street mapping service that allows you to go almost anywhere with just a click of your mouse.

Map Info is a resource that has demographical information. All a person would have to do is type an address and Map Info will bring up information up to a 3 mile radius on the occupants of the location. It will give the occupants characteristics, their occupations and also number of people residing in that area. The national geologic map data base has information on geology, geochemistry, geophysics and earths resources. This can be helpful if the written work is based on environmental issues such as global warming. These scientific facts will be able to give a factual description about the topic being presented. Dictionaries and translators are very important resources to have. The dictionary can come in handy when a writer is looking for the right words and the right spelling of the words to use in their articles or stories. There are on line translators that are able to translate full pages of written work in foreign languages. All of the resources listed can be used as great tools in order to produce exceptional written work that others will read and appreciate.

Ethics & Standards of Journalism

Journalism ethics and standards include principles to address good practice for professional journalists. Historically and currently these principles are most widely known to journalists as their professional "code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism." The basic codes and canons commonly appear in statements drafted by both professional journalism associations and individual news organizations. The codes and canons evolved through observation of and response to past ethical lapses by journalists. Today, it is common for terms of employment to mandate adherence to such codes equally applicable to both staff and freelance journalists; journalists may face dismissal for ethical failures. Upholding professional standards also enhances the reputation of and trust in a news organization, which boosts the size of the audience it serves.

These codes of ethics assist journalists with ethical dilemmas they might come across in their careers. The written codes and standards may vary from organization to organization and from country to country but usually in the field of journalism there is some type of framework established on ethics. Reporting the truth is never libel, which makes accuracy and attribution very important. Private persons have privacy rights that must be balanced against the public interest in reporting information about them. Public figures have fewer privacy rights and publishers vigorously defend libel lawsuits filed against their reporters. One of the most important rules is to make sure your sources given information is reliable and true. You are responsible for what material you are reporting and the legitimacy of the information you are covering. Always question your sources information and dig deep in order to compare all the material that is available on the specific topic in question. Some sources have motives that may effect what they give you as material for your story and will make it difficult for you to report the truth.

When you obtain photography or video images for a report make sure not to distort the images in any way. An exception to the rule is to increase the clarity of the images. Make sure to focus on facts and details of the related story without making any personal comments or suggestions that might the feel of the story. This allows the reader to form his or her own opinions without being forced to take in your opinions and comments. Swaying the story in to the direction you want it to go defeats the purpose of proving factual information so that others may form opinions and sometimes give feedback. It is also important to use your career as a tool for the voiceless to be heard. Sources can be average people who have experienced events or are currently in difficult circumstances and looking for a way to be heard. Be their aid and not only will you be helping them but you are also putting together a story that others will be touched by and may even relate to.

History of Journalism

In the early times, forms of communication of news was limited to word of mouth or gossip. News was usually told by a person who saw an event and re-told the story to others. The accuracy of the stories depended on how far the news had spread from the original source. The news' accuracy started to fade the further the story spread out to others. One other way to find out news was to write and read letters, but that was helpful for only those who were literate. This changed when Gutenberg invented the printing machine back in 1456. Not long after pamphlets, books especially the Bible were being printed for the public to read. The first newspapers did not appear until the 17th century. Mercurius Gallobelgicus was the first periodical issued in 1592 semiannually and it was written in Latin. The periodical was distributed at local book fairs. The Oxford Gazette became the first regularly published newspaper in 1665.

In the British colonies printing was regulated by the Press Restriction Act which made it mandatory for all printed documents to have the writers names and places of publication to be included. Newspaper publishing finally moved outside of New England in 1719 with Andrew Bradford's American Weekly Mercury. During the time that Benjamin Franklin established himself in Philadelphia in1730, there were a few newsprints circulating through town. There was Andrew Bradford's American Weekly Mercury, Keimer's Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences and the Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin decided to take over the Instructor and changed it to the Pennsylvania Gazette. Ben Franklin makes the Pennsylvania Gazette the best newspaper in the colonies, most pages, with the largest circulation, highest income from advertising, and the most literary column. By 1750 fourteen weekly newspapers were read in the six most populated colonies.

In 1800, America had more 200 newspapers, including 24 dailies. Unfortunately these publications were mostly mouthpieces for political parties instead of independent, objective entities. The Gazette of the United States, promoted the ideas of Alexander Hamilton and the other Federalists, and the National Gazette spoke for Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans. The centerpiece of a typical newspaper published between 1784 and 1830 was its political reporting, which often consisted of harsh, satirical, and sometimes false comments. "If ever a nation was debauched by a man," Aurora editor Benjamin Franklin Bache wrote of the country's first president, "the American nation has been debauched by Washington".

The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 punished some journalists for being bold in their reporting' s, but even early American reporters enjoyed the freedom that was promised by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." The number of publications increased in these early decades of independence. In 1820 America had 512 newspapers. The nature of the press in America remained mostly the same until the 1830s. John Tebbel, author of The Compact History of the American Newspaper, explained: "From its use as a revolutionary propaganda machine to its hardly concealed official position as a private organ of a President, it had encompassed the range of partisan expression at the expense of truth and responsibility." In the 1830s came the most important development of American journalism when New York journalists James Gordon Bennett and Benjamin Day began grabbing the attention of mass audiences. Tebbel noted that immigration and improvements in printing technology, both started this new era, which came to be known as the age of the penny press. Different from contemporary papers, which sold for 6 cents, Day's New York Sun and Bennett's New York Herald at first sold for a penny and were peddled in the streets. In addition to the increased circulations, this period was memorable for the change in the content of newspapers. Bennett was a pioneer in broadening the scope and sharpening the appeal of newspaper reporting.

What is Yellow Journalism

Yellow journalism is a belittling force of reference to journalism that features scandal or other unethical or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or journalists. The term came from circulation battles between Joseph Pulitzers New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal from 1895 to about 1898, and can refer specifically to this period. Both papers were accused by critics of arousing strong interest in the news in order to drive up circulation, although the newspapers did serious reporting as well. The New York Press originated the term "Yellow Journalism" in early 1897 to describe the papers of Pulitzer and Hearst. The newspaper did not define the term, and in 1898 simply effectuated, "We called them Yellow because they are Yellow."

Pulitzer and Hearst are responsible for drawing the nation into the Spanish-American War with elaborated stories that were not always told in truth. The majority of Americans did not live in New York City, and the decision makers who did live there more than likely relied more on more settled newspapers like the Times, The Sun or the Post. The best example of the exaggeration is the false story that artist Frederic Remington telegrammed Hearst to tell him that everything was calm and quiet in Cuba and "There will be no war." Hearst responded "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." The story first appeared in the memoirs of reporter James Creelman in 1901, and there is no other source for it.

But Hearst was one who advocated war after a rebellion broke out in Cuba in 1895. Stories of Cuban virtue and Spanish brutality soon dominated his front page. While the accounts were of doubtful accuracy, the newspaper readers of the 19th century did not need, or necessarily want, his stories to be pure nonfiction. Historian Michael Robertson has said that "Newspaper reporters and readers of the 1890s were much less concerned with distinguishing among fact-based reporting, opinion and literature." Pulitzer's treatment in the World emphasizes horrible explosion Hearst's treatment was more effective and focused on the enemy who set the bomb and offered a huge reward to readers.

Pulitzer kept the story on his front page. The yellow press covered the revolution extensively and most often inaccurately, but conditions on Cuba were horrible enough. Journalism historians have said that yellow journalism was largely a topic to New York City, and that newspapers in the rest of the country were not doing the same as they were.. The Journal and the World were not among the top ten sources of news in regional papers, and the stories simply did not make a splash outside of Gotham. War came because public opinion was sickened by the bloodshed, and because conservative leaders like McKinley realized that Spain had lost control of Cuba. These factors weighed more on the president's mind than the melodramas in the New York Journal. Hearst sailed to Cuba, when the invasion started, as a war correspondent, providing accurate accounts of the fighting. Creelman later praised the work of the reporters for exposing the horrors of Spanish misrule, arguing, " no true history of the war can be written without an acknowledgment that whatever of justice and freedom and progress was accomplished by the Spanish-American war was due to the enterprise and tenacity of yellow journalists, many of whom lie in unremembered graves."