DEFINITION OF JOURNALISM
JOURNALISM ASSIGNMENT: LECTURER (MR. ATO AMOANING ANNAN)
QUESTION: HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF JOURNALISM
DEFINITION: A lot of scholars both past and present have defined Journalism in several forms. Some of these scholars have attested to the fact that Journalism is very complex. In view of its complexity coupled with time and space and of course to avoid plagiarism, this discussion is limited to our understanding of Journalism. In our perspective, Journalism is the study of gathering, selecting and packaging information into various forms of news for publication or presentation on radio and television to suit the interest of a targeted audience. Or Journalism could be defined as the practice of investigating and reporting of events, issues and trends to a large audience in a timely fashion. Part of our research into the history of Journalism revealed that economic changes in Western Europe in the 17th century provided the conditions necessary for the emergence of periodic news press. The press at that time periodically put together a variety of news and opinion for sale to the public. It took the form of bi-weekly and weekly news books or news sheets. From this relatively modest beginning, the press grew into daily press of the 18th century especially in England. By the end of the 18th century, the press that acted as a major social force played a significant role in the American and French revolutions. Across the 19th century, a more commercial and popular press developed into the mass commercial press. The large commercial newspapers were the first mass medium. They had the staff, technology and economic means to pursue news with speed and across great distances. Rather than stress opinion, the mass newspapers began to stress the “business of news,” while journalism associations at that time stressed the virtues of professionalism, objectivity and factual accuracy. By the end of the 1900s, computers linked to the internet created a communication revolution that challenged the social position and standards of the professional and commercial press that developed in the previous century. In the 20th century, broadcast news media joined the newspapers.
On the evolution of Journalism, we observed that societies have transmitted news since the dawn of human consciousness and it is generally believed that Journalism is the best technique used in disseminating information to the masses. If you have been following media discussions lately, you would be familiar with talks on how Journalism is no longer what it used to be in the past. Now the routine has changed and the practice of dissemination information has become all-encompassing. Due to technological advancement, you can now comb through the internet for news updates on networks you have subscribed to. You may even flip through your handset phone and choose what news item you want to read or listen to. With the influx of the internet alongside other developments in information and communication technologies, everyone has become equipped to function as a Journalist of some sort. To crown it all, anyone has the liberty to return home in the evening to blog and dump his/her information into a personally computer-generated area. Today, social networking sites like twitter and face book have made journalism very interesting.
In summary, we identified four revolutions in Western journalism: The first was the development of a limited periodic press in the 1600s. Second was the expansion of the periodic press into daily press in the 18th century. The third identified evolution was the development of a liberal press in the 19th century which culminated into a mass and popular commercial press. Fourth was the emergence of the new, global and interactive media in the 1900s.
Folks, having paid attention to our presentation on the history and evolution of journalism, wouldn’t you agree with us that journalism is no longer what it used to be in the past. Undeniably, the routine has changed and the practice of dissemination information has become all-encompassing.