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The mainstream, popular method to present news and current affairs. The debate over the effect of journalism on public opinion is highly contended. One thing is for sure, people think journalists are highly unethical and rate those employed in the field with low honesty levels.
Journalism and Society
Today society is reliant on mass media for much of our information and the resulting manner in which the media act as an interface between the government and the public is therefore important. Journalism attempts to to bring the latest news straight to the consumer or end-user, in the comfort of their own house, workplace or vehicle.
For many people (but not all), modern information technology is allowing for greater access to sources of journalism. The means to deliver journalistic content has expanded as has the ways the consumer may now retrieve news and information. News organisations have highly developed communication networks, however the internet is a veritable source of original news content which is redefining what journalism is about.
Often the news media spread false information as they copy the mistakes of their peers previous message. Journalists visit far away places, reporting live and direct to the public. Journalists tend to see themselves as professional news gatekeepers. The mass media are supposed to provide a valuable service to democracy, in a gatekeeping role as provider of facts. The media acts as a filter, protecting citizens from exceedingly disturbing or harmful information. This selective disclosure is a great problem for true democracy.
There are structural limations which have shaped modern mass media contrary to democractic values. Costs, competition and deadlines are all artifical limits that are placed on the news gathering in the effort to present material on mass media. For business journalism economies of scale, force producers to make one broadcast or copy to be seen by many people. Therefore there is a pervasive dumbing down of mass media news presentations which places further restrictions on the public sphere. Another issues facing journalists is their reporting on government activities, because it is those very same lawmakers that create the regulation dictacting what news organisations are allowed to do.
The proprietary modeled mass media is owned by those in the ruling class, and therefore cannot be expected to question the socio-economic structure of that society. In other words, a commercial news source, cannot be expected to accurately represent a complete and indifferent source of facts.
Without a doubt, journalism and the things, those reporting discuss, can affect consumer confidence, optimism and opinion of the future. Most organisations thought of as the mass media are geared around profit motive. Those who manage journalists cannot be expected to fully allow the investigation of matters that are detremental to their owners chance of increased profit, even if the distribution of such information would be a public good.
Ownership of corporate media can also quickly become a monopoly without adequate legislation. Being a journalist can be dangerous. Some people do not like reporters telling the truth. Selective labels may be journalistically convenient which leads to social engineering, reinforcement of stereo-types, etc.
- Wikipedia: Yellow Journalism
- Media Matter for America
- Reporters without Border - includes freedom of the press map