By the conventional definition of the word “profession,” the occupation of journalist is not a profession at all. Although an increasing number of practitioners are trained in academic institutions, no such formal training is required either to secure a job or to fill it well; some highly successful journalists have been men of slight formal education. In the United States, furthermore, there is no system of licensure or certification of journalists; unlike a lawyer or a physician, the journalist requires as the only certification of his competence the willingness of someone to pay for his product. Concomitantly, his professional activities are not policed by any official body of the profession; he cannot be formally restrained from practice by his peers. Many nations have some kind of system of registration or licensing; although experience and demonstration of competence may be specified as a requirement in these countries, the purpose of such registration often is to make surveillance by political authorities easier or to control entrance into what is essentially a trade union.
The tendency to view the journalist as a member of a profession seems to rest largely on the recognition of the importance of his work; he is seen as a man of high responsibility more than as the inheritor of a long tradition of meritorious performance. This ascription of responsibility, in turn, seems to rest upon the general belief that the mass media have much influence in society. The fact that the nature or extent of this influence is hard to demonstrate empirically (see Klapper 1960) seems to have little effect upon the newsman’s willingness to assume it and the rest of society’s readiness to concede it.
Who are the journalists? “Journalism” is a word of broad and varied meaning; so is “journalist.” As used in this article, the word “journalist” or “newsman” refers to a person whose primary occupation is the gathering, writing, and editing of material which consists largely of the reporting or interpretation of current events. Such a definition leaves out many persons professionally involved in mass communications: advertising and public relations men, those on the “business side,” and several kinds of part-time contributors, ranging from “stringers,” who provide routine coverage of minor news on a piecework basis, to the intellectuals who contribute to the “culture” pages of the great dailies of western Europe. But the essential characteristics of these complex systems of mass communication would seem to be best demonstrated by the full-time employees who provide the bulk of the product.
The lack of systematic study of the intellectual is frequently noted by sociologists and other students of society; the profession of journalism is no exception. There is more information available on the profession in the United States than in any other country, but even these data are skimpy and drawn largely from surveys which were often designed primarily for some other purpose. Studies of organizational characteristics and role behavior have been confined almost entirely to the United States, and there have been few of these. There is a sizable body of writing about the profession from European, British, and Soviet sources, but the larger part of this literature tends to be abstractly analytical and to center upon such concepts as journalists’ rights and responsibilities. The autobiographical writings of newsmen—and there have been hundreds of such volumes—frequently provide valuable personal insights and impressions; for example, the works of Lincoln Steffens (1931), Eric Sevareid (1946), Webb Miller (1936), Vin-cent Sheean (1935), and T. S. Matthews (1960).
Available evidence indicates that most professional journalists in the United States come from the upper socioeconomic bracket; various studies (see, for instance, Rosten 1937; Deutschmann 1957; 1958) of discrete groups of practicing journalists show percentage ranges from 40 to 80 per cent with fathers in the professional, managerial, or proprietary occupational groups. There is some slight evidence (Kimball & Lubell 1960) that there is an increasing representation of “blue-collar” background in those now choosing the field, but substantially journalism in the United States re-mains a field of work for those who settle for the same, or in some cases lesser, social position. It is not a profession, apparently, which particularly recommends itself to the poor-but-bright boy as a channel of upward mobility. Most young people who choose the field do so early, many by the twelfth grade, most of the rest by the junior year in college. A study of 1,500 high school upperclassmen who worked on high school papers (Kimball & Lubell 1960) indicates that two factors are most important in choosing journalism as a career; the beliefs that the work is “interesting” and that it is “useful to society.” These students ranked the field well below the classic professions in prestige, economic security, prospects for good family life, and financial reward. An idealistic commitment, then, was of major importance to these students in their choice, and other studies and observation tend to confirm the finding. “Scratch a reporter,” the phrase goes, “and you find a reformer.” The feeling that the work provides an opportunity for self-expression also appears to be an important element in occupational choice. The problem of accommodation of idealized expectations to institutional realities is characteristic of many people in the profession.
There is no substantial body of information on either the socioeconomic origins or the reason for career choice among journalists outside the United States, but some cautious inferences can be made. Most western European journalists, as defined here, completed their formal academic training with the secondary school; their lack of higher education may indicate family backgrounds in which higher education is not a normal expectation. Further, the press on the continent of Europe is highly politicized, and the journalist is generally a member of a trade union. The young man who chooses this career in such a context has a more specific definition of “usefulness to society,” perhaps, but within that definition he would seem to share a sense of social purpose. He is not likely to be a social climber; seldom in Western society does the ordi-nary working journalist have high status. The journalist in the U.S.S.R. is likely to be chosen for the profession rather than choosing it himself; in either case, as Alex Inkeles (1950) points out, his identity as a party worker is more important than any specific assignment. Since there are few journalists in new and developing countries, recruiting for the profession is much more important than studying it. The role of the mass media in national development is generally assumed to be critical (for ex-ample, see Schramm 1964), but in much of Africa and Asia the only really professional newsmen are, or were, the Anglo-European employees of foreign-owned newspapers. New men have to be recruited, trained, and set to work; often they will have to be drawn from a pool of potential leaders that is tragically small. It is significant that most of the journalists of an atypical “new” nation, Israel, were men of long professional experience, which was often gained in Europe (Gill 1959). It is precisely the lack of this kind of resource that cripples the building of news organizations in most developing countries and sets great problems for national leadership in deciding where scarce resources of competence should be assigned. It also means, however, that the journalist in these nations begins with high status and has great opportunity for making it higher.
Hard data on the educational background of journalists are difficult to find for any country, including the United States. The U.S. Census of 1960 projects a total of about 110,000 persons in the category “editors and reporters” and indicates that about 40 per cent have had four or more years of college (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1963). There are no census data on the number among these who studied journalism. A 1965 survey, based on a relatively small sample and with slightly different categories, indicated that 58 per cent of “news-editorial staff” had college degrees and that about half of these had concentrated in journalism (Oden-dahl 1965). Compared with data from a similar study done in 1954, there seems to have been a small increase in the percentage of working newsmen with college degrees (particularly advanced degrees), but the percentage with journalism degrees has remained about the same. These findings are contrary to the general assumption, on the part of both the profession and journalism educators, that the percentage of journalism degrees has been increasing, modestly but steadily, since the establishment of the first American school of journalism at the University of Missouri in 1908.
After considerable early hostility to the idea of training for journalism in college, American publishers and broadcasters have come to look upon such programs as a primary source of new personnel. Today, U.S. education for journalism puts heavy stress upon the traditional liberal arts and social sciences and thus upon the newsman’s need to know something about many fields of knowledge. Accrediting procedures, as set out by the American Council on Education in Journalism, suggest that programs should contain no more than 25 per cent of the total course work in journalism; in practice, the figure seldom runs over 30 per cent. Most schools and departments provide training in the essential skills of writing and editing; some have elaborate facilities, including photographic labora-tories, wire-service machines, and laboratory news-papers. Most teachers of journalism at the college level have substantial professional experience, either before or concomitant with their teaching careers, but PH.D.S with primary training in research are beginning to come into the field as well. Although there is a good deal of variety among journalism schools and departments, ranging from some which are concerned largely with preparing the student to fit smoothly into current jobs to some which are largely research-oriented, there is little evidence to support the common charge that such programs are mainly preoccupied with teaching “techniques.”
The U.S. newsman without academic training in journalism learns his trade, in most cases, on the job, in a process generally too casual to be referred to as an apprenticeship. On metropolitan dailies, he may start as a copy boy; elsewhere, as a reporter beginning with simple and routine assignments. He thus acquires perceptions of his role in the news bureaucracy, and of the social setting of institutionalized mass communications while he is learning the rudiments of the craft. The academically trained journalist, on the other hand, has been exposed to a wider and more systematically organized view of the structure and workings of the mass media. There is no significant evidence concerning the differential effects, if any, of these kinds of preparation. There is no longer much debate about the value of academic training in journalism, although many editors may casually downgrade it; and there is little tendency for news-rooms to polarize into journalism-school versus non-journalism-school cliques. The newsman seems to advance in position and salary largely in terms of “how well he does his job”—in other words, the ease with which he adapts to his superior’s view of his proper role.
From its American origins, formal education for journalism has become common in the rest of the world, although the geographical pattern is spotty and the types of programs and their institutional settings vary widely. After World War II the Soviet Union developed five-year degree programs in ten of its major universities; those in Kiev, Lvov, and Moscow are the most elaborate (Khudiakov 1958). In addition, an extensive program of short courses brings working newsmen in for refresher work or updating; night school courses also are available in larger cities. Given the objectives of the Soviet system of mass communication, the content of this instruction is highly political, but it also emphasizes craft skills. Journalism education in the People’s Republic of China is structurally similar to the Soviet system; in 1965 three Chinese universities were known to offer journalism degree programs (United Nations ... 1965).
Ten universities in Japan offer journalism degrees or certificates, and curricula resemble those in U.S. universities. The widest variety of types of journalism is available in Latin America; the 57 entities on that continent that offer training for the profession range from small privately owned commercial schools to national universities. Some of the latter (for example, the University of Chile) closely resemble the larger U.S. schools of journalism, and this seems to be the general direction of development on the continent.
Each of the major countries of continental Europe has some kind of academic journalism training, but these generally have little resemblance to the American or Soviet pattern. Some programs have a university base (for example, L’École de Journalisme, University Louvain; Istituto di Pubblicismo, University of Rome; Institut für Publizistik, Free University of Berlin). Broadly speaking, university-anchored entities tend to be oriented toward research and descriptive analysis; there is a common feeling among European academicians that training for the profession is not appropriate to the regular university curriculum. Practical training in craft skills tends to be concentrated in special establishments which are staffed by former or part-time professionals and often involve a kind of concurrent internship on participating newspapers. These are essentially vocational schools, with programs of one or two years’ length (for example, Le Centre de Formation des Journalistes, Paris; Werner-Friedmann Institut, Munich; Institut pour Journalistes, Brussels). Some idea of the limited impact of these training programs can be gained from France, where in 1959, 200 of about 8,000 registered professional journalists had received formal professional training (Voyenne 1959). There is no recognized academic training for journalists in the United Kingdom, but entry into the profession requires completion of a nation-wide formal apprenticeship program under the direction of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, in which all newspapers participate (Dodge 1965).
New and underdeveloped nations give the development of a cadre of capable journalists a high priority, and most of the countries of Africa now are establishing programs of instruction. There were eight programs on the continent in 1965, including three in universities. In addition, various international agencies, such as UNESCO, the International Press Institute, and the African-American Institute, have been involved, especially in providing short-term practical courses. One of India’s ten institutions offering training for journalism goes back to 1941, but the remainder are post-World War II. Most are postgraduate, which means that admission is difficult and enrollments are small.
Generally, underdeveloped countries are attempting to enlarge their resources of competent newsmen. International organizations are providing assistance; the United States example is often relied upon, and American teachers of journalism have been involved in the operations of many overseas programs since 1945. The academic preparation of journalists is a growing trend, but in most countries the workers so trained will be a small percentage of the professional force for several more decades.
The profession of journalism has been defined here as a field of full-time work concerned with the processing of information related to current affairs, The popular stereotype of the newsman is the reporter, who gathers information and then writes a news story. Although writers of popular fiction have made this a colorful and exciting role (at least in the United States; interestingly, the journalist seldom appears as hero in other cultures), it consists largely of routine: the daily checking of regular sources, the writing of standard accounts of happenings which themselves become standardized because they are written about. Like most other aspects of the profession, the relationship between the reporter and his regular sources has been little studied. Frequently the objectives of the re-porter and the source, as well as their conception of the basic function of the news outlet, are in opposition; the source sees the newspapers’ chief function as giving publicity and avoiding controversy; the reporter sees it as the exposure of conflict (Edelstein & Schultz 1963; Nimmo 1964).
The news-handling hierarchy
At the top of the news-handling hierarchy in a newspaper is the managing editor (in news broadcasting, a news director). The managing editor supervises the work of various specialized editors who do the actual supervision of news personnel: city editor, wire editor (who is responsible for the choice and processing of material received from news agencies), sports and society editors. This supervisor gives the reporters under his direction their daily assignments, generally with a rough indication of the length desired, and passes judgment on the stories when they come in; he may order them rewritten, discard them altogether, or accept them. The processing of this copy is done on “the desk” by copy editors, who cut, correct for style and mechanics if necessary, and write headlines. Large daily news-papers also have rewrite men on the desk; these are writers who take material over the telephone from reporters and then write the actual stories.
There are, then, three discrete roles: that of news gatherer-writer, that of copy editor and head-line writer, and that of supervisor. This tight triumvirate represents the basic news-handling process in daily and weekly newspapers; in weekly news magazines; and, generally in simpler form, in broadcast journalism. In almost every setting it functions under demanding conditions: close personal relationships with constant interaction; continual decision making, little of it consciously centered on policy considerations, much on accumulated perceptions of role relationships; constant pressure of time which hinders careful consideration and revision either before or after the story is written.
Journalists other than these basic news handlers—editorial writers, columnists, and various feature specialists—often work under less stringent demands of time and sometimes in simpler hierarchies, but the essential dimensions of their roles are the same.
Professional advancement—up or out?
The newsman’s opportunity for upward mobility within the news business is limited. There is an ancient saw in the newspaper field that deskmen are old reporters whose feet have given out; many men on the desk did begin as reporters. Supervisory editors—again, within the news-handling triumvirate— almost invariably have been either reporters or deskmen and in many cases have had experience as both. There is some evidence (Jones & Swanson 1954) that this structure does tend to reward ability, that is, that supervisory personnel rank higher on standard tests which would seem to measure competence. The most significant measure of mobility, however, is not the process of internal pro-motion but the tendency to move into other kinds of work. Studies of the American newspaper field repeatedly have indicated a tendency to work in the field for a relatively short time and then move on to other activities (see, for instance, Deutschmann 1957; 1958). The median age of editorial personnel in American newspapers is apparently somewhere around 35. A study of nonmetropolitan news-papers indicated that more than 70 per cent of news-handling personnel had been on their jobs for less than five years. It has been estimated that one of every three newspapermen in their thirties who are now on the job will leave it.
This problem of departing manpower has been a major concern of newspaper publishers, particularly in the United States, and projections indicate a worsening situation in the future. It is complicated by the fact that only about 5 per cent of those who leave the news business ever come back; occupational movement is almost entirely outward. For this reason, recruitment of new staff members and of journalism students has received considerable attention from both the industry and journalism’s academicians. During the past decade, journalism schools have regularly reported three to five times as many jobs available as graduates to fill them.
Evidence indicates that most of these newsmen do not leave the field of mass communication; there is substantial movement into such fields as public relations, advertising, and industrial editing (Keinzle 1963). The essential pattern of the shift is from news handling into areas in which skills already acquired are still useful. However, a substantial number of newsmen remain in the field, find great satisfaction in it, and never seriously contemplate leaving. Those who made a career decision early and had college training in journalism are most likely to be in this category. Studies of job satisfaction among those who do stay show, as the salient element, the continued finding of the work as “interesting.”
Why do newsmen leave the field? Investigation tends to show a predictable cluster of complaints: low pay, unsatisfactory conditions of work (for reporters on small newspapers and broadcasting operations, in particular, hours are often long and irregular), and boredom with routine. Certainly money is important in the decision to move out; although news personnel salaries in the United States have risen considerably in the past decade —a study for the National Science Foundation (Bureau of Social Science Research 1963, p. 53) showed journalists tenth in median income ($5,130) two years after college graduation in a list of forty representative occupations—there generally is more money to be had in writing press releases and speeches or putting out employee magazines. There is also less pressure and a more predictable pattern of daily living.
Job satisfaction and institutional pressures
The structure of institutionalized mass communications in the United States and the role of the individual in it also affect the satisfaction the newsman finds in his job. In many ways the characteristic internal organization of the news business conforms to the standard sociological descriptions of bureaucracy. A premium is put upon the organization’s technical efficiency, with great emphasis upon accuracy, speed, continuity, and sharply defined lines of authority with control from the top. There is little time for experimentation which may lead to waste; responses must be predictable; the basic learning of the first few weeks on the job is the establishment of such responses. From the individual’s point of view, the most significant effect of bureaucracy is, of course, its tendency to capture the people in it and substitute its own structure for individual creativity or the coherent pursuit of values. The profession of journalism in the United States is particularly vulnerable to this kind of ossification.
There has been relatively little study of the journalist’s relation to the framework and context of his work. One elite group has been studied in some detail: the Washington correspondents (Rosten 1937; compare such later treatments of the topic as Rivers 1960; Cohen 1963; Nimmo 1964). This group is too small, as well as too much of an elite, to be taken as representative of the profession, but certain fundamental conclusions parallel those which can be deduced from scattered studies of other groups (see, for instance, Gieber 1960; Judd 1961; Deutschmann 1957; 1958; White 1950; Breed 1955). No two of these studies (with the exception of Rivers’ updating of Rosten) have been organized in such a fashion as to provide rigid comparability, and the variety of data involved is capable of various interpretations. Certain conclusions, however, are highly persuasive.
Many, if not most, persons who choose journalism as a profession do so in part because of their social values. They feel it is a way to do something about the world; it promises to be a useful occupation, in the highest sense of the word “useful.” Yet the day-to-day practice of the profession cannot be set against this goal for measurement. The newsman feels his first obligation is to his audience, but his view of that audience is curiously vague and generalized; there is a striking unanimity of findings on this point. He feels that his job is the molding of public opinion, but he is of necessity vague about what constitutes a “public or what a supposed public is thinking.” Therefore, he is content to satisfy the bureaucracy: as one of Judd’s respondents put it, “if the city editor will accept a story, it is good enough for everyone” (Judd 1961, p. 39).
The journalist is seldom told specifically in advance how to decide what is news or how to handle it once he decides. His decisions are subject to re-vision by those in other roles, but generally after the fact; as Rosten (1937) first pointed out, the newsman learns what not to do from the stories that are rewritten or go unused. He therefore operates, in the classic bureaucratic fashion, within an unmistakable pattern of control, that is, control through structure. This is even true of publications generally assumed to be almost idiosyncratically reflective of a single personality: a writer for Time magazine, for example, is seldom told how to handle a story when it is assigned to him.
Politics and the newsman. More often than not, the American newsman is out of political sympathy with his employer; there is an old joke that publishers are Republicans but reporters are Democrats, and there is some evidence to confirm this. For example, a majority of U.S. newspapers have consistently supported the Republican candidate for president in the period 1936–1960, but informal preference polls of reporters assigned to cover the campaigns have regularly turned up majorities favoring the Democrat. Even if the reporter sees himself as not a party man, he is generally aware of a difference between himself and the top of the hierarchy on a liberal-conservative scale. There is little he can do about this; if he produces the wrong responses, he simply interferes with the efficiency of the organization, and if he does it frequently enough it will either isolate or reject him. The greatest force for conservatism which he faces is not the political commitments of his superiors, in any case, but the very nature of the organization.
Occupational isolation. He also lacks reinforcement by factors outside the organization in which he works. Max Weber pointed out that journalists have no clear-cut social classification (Weber 1919); recent rankings of occupations by the general population (National Opinion Research Center 1947; compare Reiss et al. 1961, p. 263) indicate that the editor or reporter falls somewhere in between the white-collar and blue-collar rankings in public prestige. In the United States the newsman has no formal certification of his competence; other than by the first amendment to the constitution and some minor state legislation, he has no special status under the law. There are various codes of ethics in the profession, but these tend to be both vague and ignored (only one attempt has been made to expel a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors under that organization’s code of ethics, which is perhaps the best-known such statement in American journalism, and the attempt aborted). If he works on a metropolitan daily, he may be a member of a trade union; the American Newspaper Guild, an AFL-CIO affiliate, dominates newsrooms in some of the largest cities, but most newsmen have no such connection.
Given this lack of formalized “outside” values and reinforcing reference groups, the professional journalist comes close to the prototype of the intellectual in a bureaucracy (Merton  1957, pp. 207–224) and seems to fit the familiar pattern of displacement of goals: “.. . a transference of the sentiments from the aims of the organization onto the particular details of behavior required by the rules. Adherence to the rules, originally conceived as a means, becomes transformed into an end-in-itself” (p. 199). Walter Gieber (1963) has shown in addition that in some cases this phenomenon ex-tends to the point where the newsman may see the same public issue from two quite different points of view, evaluating it in one way as a newsman and quite differently as a citizen of the community. The day-to-day process of gathering, writing, and editing the news, however, represents an almost classic case of bureaucratization.
The extent to which this domination of the news-handling operation by organizational structure is related to the continued movement out of the field of journalism as it has been defined here is not clear, and blithe assumptions would be un-warranted. No amount of analysis can belie the fact that many newsmen (apparently about half) remain in their jobs throughout their careers, find them stimulating and intellectually rewarding, and do excellent work.
Journalism outside the United States
The newsman in countries other than the United States is generally in a somewhat different position. Although the internal structure and basic functioning of the organization are the same, there are external points of reference—repositories of values, in a sense—which overlap and frequently conflict with the primary organization. Most journalists in Europe and Latin America (and, needless to say, in the communist-bloc countries) are members of trade unions or their equivalent. For example, 90 per cent of British journalists are members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Journalists’ trade unions not only establish, through negotiation, rates of pay, working conditions, and fringe benefits; in some cases they provide encouragement for independence. Thus the British NUJ offers “full financial support to any member who may be victimised for refusing to do work Incompatible with the honor and interests of the profession’” (Kenyon 1948, p. 15). In France, reinforcement is provided by the law of 1935, which contains a “conscience clause” specifying that a newsman who leaves a job because the political line of his employing newspaper has become unpalatable is entitled to the same benefits as those who lose their jobs involuntarily, including severance pay (Voyenne 1962).
Further, almost all countries outside the United States have a body of press law. This is not necessarily desirable; such laws do, however, provide a solid definition of the society’s expectations of the profession, as well as a special status. The last twenty years have also seen a sharp rise in the number of what are generically often referred to as courts of honor. These are national bodies, of varying composition, which hear complaints by the public against the press (and, in some cases, by the press against outside individuals) and, if the evidence warrants, issue formal censure against specific offenders. These bodies, of which the British Press Council is perhaps the best known, include representatives of the profession in their membership, and although their powers are generally limited to the formal pronouncement of censure, they are generally agreed to have influence. More than fifty countries now have some such entity; the idea has never been seriously considered in the United States.
American and foreign journalists compared
Commonwealth, European, Latin American, and communist-bloc journalists, then, operate within a much more sharply defined context and a more formalized value system than their American colleagues. Non-American journalists may still be members of a mass communications bureaucracy; but a significant difference may rest in the fact that they are oriented toward not one bureaucracy, but several, and that these bureaucracies frequently contend with each other. The existence of national newspapers in such countries as England and Japan helps define the job; the newsman begins in the provinces and works up by traditional steps to the top bracket. By contrast, the U.S. newsman can become a national figure only by becoming a columnist for more than one paper.
There are no substantial data concerning job satisfaction or mobility rates in the profession out-side the United States. Casual observation might lead to the conclusion that a much higher percentage of European journalists, in particular, remain in their jobs permanently, but this may not be true. Even if it is, other factors might explain this fact, particularly the very modest development in most other countries of the service fields into which American journalists ordinarily move—public relations, advertising, industrial editing, and journalism teaching. Newspaper owners in Europe have begun to note the loss of personnel to these areas.
It would be specious to contend that the unique bureaucratization of the profession of journalism in the United States is entirely negative in its effects. This would imply that the press in the United States is of low quality and destined to go lower, and such is hardly the case; indeed, it is generally considered, as a whole, the best press system in the world. The increasing traffic from overseas to American schools of journalism, and the increasing use of the American model in journalism elsewhere, speaks for itself.
William E. Porter
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"Journalism." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 1968. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045000623.html
"Journalism." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 1968. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045000623.html
Journalism is the gathering, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting of information through newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or the Internet by any news organization as a business. Just as journalism reports day-to-day news and current affairs, its attributes change with the times. Journalism’s history is closely associated with democracy and business. Not only does journalism derive its financial strength and power from mass audiences purchasing the product, but it also attains its political strength by swaying the masses. Thus while many may decry the commercialization of information, the mark of success, whether financial or political, is seen in the number of people who access that information and therefore support the endeavor. It is described as the lifeblood of democracy. The intersection between politics and journalism has important and fundamental effects on the stability and legitimacy of democratic regimes.
Newsletters contained news that was written for merchants, businesspeople, and politicians during the seventeenth century. The newsletters exchanged sporadic information about friends abroad or in other colonies between people with common interests. This created an organized circulation, which eventually led to the development of the newspaper.
Pamphlets were published papers that dealt with public questions, while ballads were accounts written in verse. These were distributed in public houses, coffeehouses, and taverns. Such information was printed on broadsides, meaning it was printed on one side of a single sheet. These sheets were sold on the street for a few pence.
Journalism’s popularity and influence in the political process emerged at about the same time as the European discovery and colonization of North America. Johannes Gutenberg (1400–1467) created the first moveable type press in 1455, yet it was not until Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) sailed from Spain in 1492 that the printing press was popularized in Europe. Columbus wrote many letters describing his discoveries of the “Indies.” In 1620, around the time the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, the first “coranto,” or pioneer newspapers, appeared for sale in the streets of London. The first printing press was imported to America in 1639. Over the next forty years, journalism became established in England with the first newspaper, the Weekly Newes.
In England, the popularization of such materials represented the first clash between government and journalism, with authors and importers of imported books being subject to censorship and harsh prosecutions as well as other impediments, such as high taxes. Undeterred by those punishments, the business of journalism grew. It is estimated that between 1640 and the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, more than 30,000 political pamphlets and newspapers were issued. The beginnings of journalism also coincided with the rise of political parties in England. Political groups realized that if they could get endorsements from newsletters and pamphlets, their interests would be more easily disseminated to the public. This eventually led to the partisan press in both the United Kingdom and America.
The first continuous American newspaper began publishing in Boston on April 24, 1704. It was founded by the city’s postmaster, John Campbell, and was called the Boston News-Letter. It carried news from London journals and focused on English politics and foreign wars. Local content was limited to the arrival of ships, deaths, sermons, political appointments, storms, crimes, and misadventures.
The modern newspaper progressed over the next 200 years, evolving from the broadsheets and pamphlets to weekly sheets and eventually the daily press. Notable figures in the early days of newspapers include Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), who, with his brother James, published the New England Courant. Seeking new sales, Franklin established the publishing tradition of letters to the editor. Initially Franklin himself wrote letters under pseudonyms to create controversy and arouse interest in his own editorials. The first daily newspapers tended to be highly partisan. This partisan press eventually was replaced by the penny press.
Economies of scale figure prominently in the evolution of newspapers. As presses became larger, the need for greater capital also increased. Those with the most capital were able to secure larger presses and larger audiences, thereby pushing out of business the small, independent producers and creating larger, more standardized formats. The larger scale of the modern newspaper helped develop the craft and techniques of journalism. Tenants of modern journalism are objectivity, the inverted pyramid, and other conventions of standardized writing. The formatting of news in specific ways, such as the inverted pyramid, means that the most important information, the five Ws (who, what, when, where, and why), are placed at the start of the story. This allows readers to find the most important facts quickly. It also means that if the story has to be edited because of space limitations, the last paragraphs are easily cut without losing the main story elements and without the need to rewrite the story.
In addition to movable type, other advances occurred in the creation of the newspaper that influenced the way in which news is reported. The stereotype was invented in 1725 by the Scottish goldsmith William Ged (1690–1749). This consisted of a printing plate of a whole page of type cast in a single mold. These stereotypes were mass produced and were thin enough to be sent through the mails. Large presses purchased the stereotype and sent it to various newspapers. Subscribing newspapers could simply take the stereotype of the news or of cartoons and reproduce them for local readers. The stereotype proved to be so successful that by 1877 nearly eight out of ten newspapers in America provided their readers the same political cartoon more cheaply than they could write and set their own. The term stereotype is now used to describe how ideas and public opinion were formed through a consistent message, often one that is simplistic and erroneous.
As competition increased, so did the need to be the first to break the news. Many technological advances in the nineteenth century facilitated news-gathering competition. These included the steamship, the railroad, and the magazine telegraph. The telegraph proved to be the most efficient means of conveying information over long distances, and the newspaper helped to popularize and ensure its success. While the telegraph was a boon for the speed of news, it was also expensive.
The first newswire, Agence Havas, was started in 1835 by Charles-Louis Havas (1783–1858), considered the father of the press agency. Havas translated material from abroad for the French national press. In 1940 the company was taken over by the state and renamed Agence Française de Presse (AFP). Twelve years later the first North American press agency was created, starting with an agreement between the publishers of the Journal of Commerce and the New York Herald. In 1848 the Associated Press (AP) was founded at a meeting of ten men representing six New York newspaper publishers. They pooled their efforts in collecting international news. Horace Greeley (1811–1872), the founding editor of the New York Tribune, was also a founder of the AP. Having a news wire license would mean a great deal to future newspaper barons because it would ensure their success against competitors who did not have access to the wire. By October 1851 the German-born Paul Julius Reuter (1816–1899) was transmitting stock market quotes between London and Paris over the Calais-Dover cable. His agency, which eventually became known as Reuters, extended its service to the whole British press and to other European countries. Other news wires that emerged were the United Press Association, set up by E. W. Scripps (1854–1926), U.S. Newswire, and Bloomberg, whose focus remains business news. Most countries have some form of newswire service. Newswires helped move newspapers away from partisan declarations. To be a successful news agency, one had to have many subscribing newspapers. The ability to get the story meant stripping the copy of its editorial content and focusing on the facts.
As newspapers became more powerful, their partisan nature extended their impact. Journalism was said to be so powerful that it could elect presidents as well as ruin political careers. One figure who changed the power structure of the partisan press was Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911), whose career in publishing began inauspiciously with his account of being taken in as a scam artist, written for the Westliche Post, a German-language paper in St. Louis, Missouri. After establishing himself, he purchased the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at auction for $2,500 (Brian 2001, p. 31). Pulitzer had an inherent sense of social justice, which he brought to his paper. His editorial position was that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would not be a tool of partisan politics. Denis Brian (2001) noted Pulitzer’s pledge: that the paper “opposes all frauds and shams wherever and whatever they are, will advocate principles and ideas rather than prejudices and partisanships” (Brian 2001, p. 32).
Pulitzer is also associated with yellow journalism. Once the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was an established and successful paper, he moved to New York and purchased the New York World. Within a few years, he took a derelict paper and made it one of the most profitable newspapers in the most competitive U.S. market. To do this he made the paper affordable, cutting the price to 2 cents an issue, and focused on stories that attracted the mass public. Much of this centered on reporting crime and scandal. Later William Randolph Hearst (1863–1951), who admired Pulitzer’s business acumen, copied his success and launched the New York Journal to compete against the World. The competition for readers between the two New York papers culminated in the dueling Sunday supplements containing the Yellow Kid cartoons, the first cartoons published in color. The New York Press editor Ervin Wardman dubbed this competition “yellow journalism,” and the phrase soon became a metaphor for any kind of salacious reporting.
Yellow journalism is the reporting of scandal, divorce, and crime alongside sports. Yellow journalism also refers to false reports, faking of news or interviews, and heavy use of graphic pictures. The battle between Hearst and Pulitzer raged with misleading headlines and each accusing the other of false reports. While the era of yellow journalism reigned from 1892 to 1914, many of its features still linger in contemporary journalism: big headlines, the use of pictures to present information, and the colored comic Sunday supplement.
Despite being associated with the worst of journalism, Pulitzer is also associated with its best. His penchant for accuracy, brevity, and persistence became hallmarks of journalism. While at the time of his death Pulitzer’s estate was in excess of $18 million, he remained interested in the common good. His core journalistic credo was that journalism should never worry about the profits of the owners but rather about telling the truth and uncovering injustice. To this end he provided $2 million for the creation of the Columbia School of Journalism, which opened on September 30, 1912, just under a year after Pulitzer’s death.
While journalism had been big business for some time, the height of its power began at the end of the nineteenth century. As the investment in presses became larger, so did the business of journalism and the realization that more money could be made if one owned several small papers rather than one large paper. The person who pioneered this type of capital investment in newspapers was E. W. Scripps, who purchased established papers rather than start new ones. He would choose a city with 50,000 to 100,000 in population and purchase a paper already in operation. Most every year from 1893 until his death, he added nearly a half dozen papers to his holdings. In 1926 the Scripps chain owned thirty-four papers. Hearst too amassed a newspaper empire. The difference was that Hearst established himself in the largest American cities. By the end of 1922 Hearst owned twenty daily papers and eleven Sunday papers in thirteen markets. At his peak Hearst had bought or established forty-two daily papers.
Newspaper journalism began to wane in popularity as other communication technologies emerged. Radio had a unique ability to transmit wire information directly to the public. This challenged newspapers, which feared they would lose their influence. Initial attempts by newspapers to prevent radio from taking over journalism included blocking radio from receiving newswire stories. Nonetheless, there was little to prevent radio stations from reading the news from competing newspapers. When limiting information to radio did not work, newspapers tried to discredit radio journalism by claiming that radio could not uphold the ideals of objectivity, could not provide public service, or was bad for democracy. All these issues were resolved when AP lifted its ban on radio in 1939, allowing radio to compete with newspapers.
Just as radio challenged and changed the nature of journalism, so too did television news. Not only was information equally available, but television news provided better pictures than newspapers with the timeliness of radio. The focus on images in television news changed the nature of journalism, with images reigning paramount over content. From 1950 to the 1980s television news was the most popular means by which the public received information on current events. Television’s success was in part due to the ease of receiving the information as well as the visual nature of the medium.
The American networks created bureaus in countries around the world and furnished firsthand accounts of history unfolding. While newspapers were severely challenged by radio, both radio and television eventually lost part of their audience. While newspapers declined, they still maintain significant readership. Radio journalism has suffered the most and is used less frequently than other forms of journalism.
Despite the technical innovations of getting the message out, the period between the 1920s and 1970s saw journalists become more routinized and codified in their presentation of material. Journalism schools were created, and the occupation of journalist was elevated from a technical or trade occupation—one that was also low paying—to a profession characterized by higher education, social status, and eventually pay.
As journalism became more standardized, so too were complaints of perceived bias in the media. Those who supported more government intervention in the economy argued that because journalism is a big business, it focuses on protecting the elites and avoiding stories that might embarrass advertisers. Others, those who supported less government, charged that because journalists were becoming more educated, their views were more in keeping with left-wing intellectuals. At the height of the cold war Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908–1957) led the charge by accusing many prominent journalists (as well as entertainers) of being Communist sympathizers. In particular he took issue with the popular former war correspondent and radio and television journalist Edward R. Murrow (1908–1965) as evidence. Murrow fought back, exposing McCarthy’s false accusations and setting the standard for hard-hitting investigative journalism. His documentary on McCarthy is considered the most famous ever broadcast, and it signaled the end of McCarthyism. When one considers that television news was still in its infancy, with relatively few people having direct access to television, and that it was a program not promoted by the network, it spoke to the potential impact of the medium. That impact was developed during the 1960s and 1970s with domestic events such as race relations and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert Kennedy. All these events were given heightened sense of crisis and immediacy in part because television news was able to provide the pictures to go along with the information.
In addition to broadcasting local events in North America as well as Europe, television news could provide pictures from faraway places such as Africa and Southeast Asia. Walter Lippmann’s 1922 depiction of “the world outside and the pictures in our heads” (Lippmann 1922, p. 1) was never more true than with television news broadcasting images from faraway places.
Walter Cronkite, the managing editor and anchor of CBS News from 1962 to 1981, was a trusted and well-respected journalist in part because he maintained the CBS News policy of independent, nonpartisan reporting. Some argue that it was not the continuing pictures and stories of the war from Vietnam that changed the majority view on the conflict but the fact that Cronkite, a former World War II (1939–1945) correspondent, stepped aside from the neutral anchor to present his opinion on the war.
That legacy continued and culminated with the Washington Post ’s reporting of a break-in in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., in 1972. Relatively junior reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are credited with investigating the story in a series of newspaper articles that revealed that the break-in was linked to the Republican Party, whose officials were seeking information about the Democratic Party. President Richard Nixon eventually resigned rather than face impeachment. While many point to the Watergate reporting as the high-water mark for investigative journalism, others argue that the role of journalism in bringing down the president is more myth than fact. Edward Jay Epstein, for example, argues that Woodward and Bernstein were only slightly ahead of the prosecutors and relied on leaked information from the prosecutor’s case. As such, Epstein argues, the information would have come out anyway. It was not Woodward and Bernstein who uncovered the link between the burglars and the White House and traced the illegal activities to the Nixon campaign, it was the FBI. Epstein charges that Woodward and Bernstein “systematically ignored or minimized” the work of law enforcement officials to “focus on those parts” of the story “that were leaked to them” (as quoted in Feldstein 2004, p. 3).
Nixon aide Howard Dean states that the role of the journalists in the Watergate story was not investigative reporting but keeping the story alive long enough to legitimize law enforcement agents who were doing the investigation. The media coverage and subsequent frenzy is what kept the Watergate story in the public eye. The press coverage also helped to keep the public’s interest alive during the televised hearings about the scandal. Ultimately, however, the business of journalism is sustained by the routine gathering of news rather than by investigative journalism. While television became dominant in news gathering and dissemination, the investigative model is ultimately time consuming and expensive. The day-to-day news business is focused on feeding the news cycle with short, easily digested information. As a result investigative articles are more rare than routine.
Only with the emergence of cable news networks did network television news begin its decline. Despite the pressures from other communications technologies, public opinion surveys indicate that local television news remains the most frequent source of information, followed by local newspapers.
Cable news networks challenged traditional television news in several ways. First, providing one service on cable was significantly cheaper than having to supply stations in every market. These savings allowed cable networks such as CNN to establish more bureaus around the world at a time when network television news had to close down bureaus or cut staff. The twenty-four-hour format gave CNN an advantage on stories with great public interest, such as the 1991 Gulf War. CNN not only changed the way international news is covered but also increased interest in and the scope of international affairs on public policy. Thus it is seen as a catalyst for Western governments to intervene in humanitarian crises, subsequently dubbed the “CNN effect.” The extent to which governments react to media coverage of suffering people is debatable, but the public’s awareness of humanitarian crises are much more extensive as a result of the twenty-four-hour news format. By shifting the focus from local topics to international issues, the focus of the public has become more globalized.
The popularization of the Internet has blurred the lines of journalism and public comment. The Internet not only allows for on-demand news, which traditional media have adopted, but it also allows for individuals not normally considered journalists to present their interpretations of current affairs. The Web log, or blog, is a Web site on which individuals write their views on any subject. Blogs have been associated with breaking publication bans, providing critical commentary on accepted journalistic stories, and popularizing certain political interests. Just as challenges to newspapers were discredited as not being proper journalism, traditional journalists also question and try to discredit blogs. The current definition of journalism disavows blog writers in that they do not typically write for commercial interests. The Washington Press Gallery, for example, limits membership by stipulating that to qualify as a journalist, one must be employed by “a periodical that is published for profit and is supported chiefly by advertising or by subscription” (United States House of Representatives, Periodical Press Gallery, Rules and Regulations).
SEE ALSO Democracy; Internet; Media; Medium Is the Message; Radio Talk Shows; Television; Watergate
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"Journalism." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045301224.html
"Journalism." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2008. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045301224.html
Russian journalism, both under the tsars and since, has more often responded to state requirements than it has exemplified the freedom of the press. Moreover, not until a decade or so before the 1917 Revolution did a number of newspapers win mass readerships by lively and extensive daily reporting of domestic and foreign news.
Peter I (r. 1682–1725) started the first newspaper in a small format, the St. Petersburg Bulletin, and wrote for it himself to advance his reform program. Later in the eighteenth century journals appeared as outlets for literary and didactic works, but they could not escape the influence of the state. As part of her effort to enlighten Russia, Catherine II (r. 1762–1796) launched All Sorts of Things in 1769. This was a weekly publication modeled on English satirical journals. Nicholas Novikov, a dedicated Freemason, published his well-known Drone on the presses of the Academy of Sciences, providing outlet for pointedly critical comments about conditions in Russia, including serfdom, but he went too far, and the Empress closed down his publishing activities.
In the early, reformist years of the reign of Alexander I (1801–1825), a number of writers promoted constitutional ideas in periodicals controlled or subsidized by the government. Between 1804 and 1805, an education official named I. I. Martynov edited one such newspaper, Northern Messenger, and promoted Western ideas. He portrayed Great Britain as an advanced and truly free society. Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin, the tsar's unofficial historian, founded Messenger of Europe (1802–1820) to introduce Russian readers to European developments.
Among the reign's new monthlies, those issued by the Ministries of War, Public Education, Justice, the Interior, and the Navy continued until the 1917 Revolution. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a newspaper in French. After the Napoleonic wars, Alexander I backed a small newspaper, Messenger of Zion, its main message being that the promoters of Western European Enlightenment
were plotting to subvert the Russian church and state.
The reign of Nicholas I (1825–1855) saw commercial successes by privately owned but progovernment periodicals. For example, the Library for Readers, founded by Alexander Filippovich Smirdin, reached a peak circulation of seven thousand subscribers in 1837. As the first of the so-called thick journals that dominated journalism for about three decades, each issue ran about three hundred pages and was divided into sections on Russian literature, foreign literature, science, art, and the like. Its size and content made it especially appealing in the countryside, where it provided a month's reading for landlord families. Works by virtually all of Russia's prominent writers appeared in serial form in such journals.
Smirdin also acquired Russia's first popular, privately owned daily newspaper, Northern Bee, which was essentially a loyalist publication that had permission to publish both foreign and domestic political information. The Bee also had the exclusive right to publish news of the Crimean War, but only by excerpting it from the Ministry of War's official newspaper, Russian War Veteran. During the war, the Bee achieved the unprecedented readership of ten thousand subscribers.
Another major development was the growing success in the 1840s of two privately owned journals, Notes of the Fatherland and The Contemporary. Each drew readers largely by publishing the literary reviews of a formidable critic, Vissarion Belinsky, who managed to express his moral outrage at human wrongs, despite the efforts of censors. However, journalism turned from a literary emphasis to a more political one during the reign of the tsar-reformer Alexander II (r. 1855–1881), who emancipated some 50 million serfs and effected reforms in education, local government, the judiciary, and the military, and relaxed the practice of preliminary, or pre-publication, censorship. One of his first steps in this regard was, in 1857, to permit journalists to publicize the peasant emancipation question, a topic previously forbidden. The next was allowing journalists to comment on how best to reform the courts and local government.
Journalists seized what was, on the whole, a genuine expansion of free speech about public affairs. They had as their ideal Alexander Herzen, the emigre whose banned words they read in The Bell, a Russian-language paper he produced in London and smuggled into Russia. By keeping informed on developments in Russia through correspondence and visitors, Herzen published authoritative information and liberal arguments, especially on the emancipation of the serfs, and influenced many who served under Alexander II. Meanwhile, Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky, an erudite man who read several languages, became Russia's leading political journalist through the pages of The Contemporary ; and he, like Herzen, wove in relevant events from Western Europe to shape public and government opinion on reform issues. Another such journalist, Dmitry Pisarev, wrote many of his major pieces in prison, and published them in the other major radical journal within the Empire, Russian Word ; however, he espoused the nihilist position of accepting nothing on faith but, rather, testing all accepted truths and practices by the critical tools of reason and science. In line with the view of a liberal censor at that time, Alexander Vasilevich Nikitenko, higher censorship officials suspended both journals for eight months in 1862 and later permanently closed them.
Through his new censorship statute of 1865, widely hailed as a reform, Alexander II unleashed a major expansion of the commercial daily press, which was concentrated in Moscow and the capital, St. Petersburg. During the last decade of the previous reign, only six new dailies (all in the special-interest category) had been allowed, but officials now approved sixty new dailies in the first decade under Alexander II, and many of these were granted permission to publish not just general news but also a political section. In 1862, private dailies received permission to sell space to advertisers, a right that allowed lower subscription fees. The new income source prompted the publisher of Son of the Fatherland to change it from a weekly to a daily, and it soon acquired twenty thousand subscribers, well over half of them in the provinces.
By Western standards, however, overall circulation levels remained modest, even as more and more newspapers became commercially successful in the 1860s. Andrei Alexandrovich Kraevsky's moderate daily, Voice, saw profits grow as readers increased to ten thousand by the close of the 1860s. Moscow Bulletin, edited by Michael Katkov, who leased it in 1863 and changed it from a weekly to a daily, doubled its circulation to twelve thousand in two years' time, in part because of its ardently nationalistic leaders, which were front-page opinion pieces modeled on French feuilletons and written by Mikhail Nikiforovich Katkov, known as the editorial "thunderer." Just as outspoken and popular were the leaders written in the capital for the daily, St. Petersburg Bulletin, by Alexei Sergeyevich Suvorin, who kept that conservative paper's circulation high. Readers preferring nationalistic and slavophile journalism critical of the government bought Ivan Aksakov's Day (1865–1866) and then his Moscow (1867–1869), its end coming when the State Council banned his daily and barred him from publishing, citing his unrelenting defiance of censorship law.
Another boon for newspapers under Alexander II was their new right, granted in the early 1860s, to buy foreign news reports received in Russia by the Russian Telegraph Agency (RTA, run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), after such dispatches had been officially approved. In this period, too, publishers improved printing production by buying advanced equipment from Germany and elsewhere in Europe, including typesetting machines and rotary presses that that permitted press runs in the tens of thousands. Publishers also imported photographic and engraving tools that made possible the pictorial magazines and Sunday supplements.
Following the politically-motivated murder of Alexander II, his son and heir Alexander III (r. 1881-1894) gave governors full right to close publications judged to be inciting a condition of alarm in their provinces, without the approval of the courts. But there were still possibilities for critical journalists even at a time of conservative government policies. Nicholas K. Mikhailovsky, who espoused a radical populist viewpoint, published in Notes of the Fatherland until the government closed it in 1884. Most of the staff moved to Northern Messenger, which began publishing in 1885. After spending a period in exile, Mikhailovsky joined the Messenger staff and wrote later for two other populist journals, Russian Wealth and Russian Thought. He was one of the outstanding examples of the legal populist journalists and led the journalistic critique of the legal Marxists.
During the early years of Nicholas II (r. 1894–1917), some Russian journalists promoted anti-government political and social views in the papers printed abroad by such illegal political parties as the Social Democrats, the Socialist Revolutionaries, and the Union of Liberation. The Social Democrats, led by Vladimir Ilich Lenin, began Spark in 1902 in London, its declared purpose being to unseat the tsar and start a social revolution. Those who backed Spark in Russia had to accept Spark 's editorial board as their party's leaders. When the various anti-autocracy factions cohered as legal parties in Russia following the Revolution of 1905, each published its own legal newspaper. The Mensheviks launched Ray in 1912 and Lenin's Bolsheviks started Pravda (Truth) in 1912, but the government closed the latter in 1914. (Pravda emerged again after the Revolution of 1917 as the main outlet for the views of the ruling Communist Party). Another type of journalism was that of Prince V. P. Meshchersky, editor of the St. Petersburg daily, The Citizen. Meshchersky accepted money from a secret government "reptile" fund. His publishing activities were completely venal, but both Alexander II and Nicholas II supported him because of his pro-autocracy, nationalistic views.
With mass publishing commonplace in the big cities of Russia by 1900, publishers in those centers continued to increase readerships, some with papers that primarily shocked or entertained. In the first category was Rumor of St. Petersburg; in the second, St. Petersburg Gazette, for which Anton Chekhov wrote short stories pseudonymously. The copeck newspapers of Moscow and St. Petersburg provided broad coverage at little cost for urban readers. Making a selling point of pictures and fiction, by 1870 Adolf Fyodorovich Marks lined up nine thousand paid subscriptions to meet the initial costs of his illustrated magazine, The Cornfield, which was the first of the so-called thin journals, and increased readership to 235,000 by century's turn. The government itself entered into mass production of its inexpensive newspaper for peasants, Village Messenger, and achieved a press run of 150,000.
High reporting standards set by long-time publisher Alexei Sergeyevich Suvorin, on the other hand, won a large readership for the conservative New Times, the daily he had acquired in 1876. Reputedly the one paper read by members of the Imperial family, New Times merited respect for publishing reporters such as Vasily Vasilevich Rozanov, one of the best practitioners of the cryptic news style typical in modern journalism. Imperial funding to friendly publishers like Suvorin, regardless of need, continued to 1917 through subsidies and subscription purchases. (Other recipients of lesser stature were Russian Will, Contemporary Word, Voice of Moscow, and Morning of Russia. ) Another paper receiving help from the government was Russian Banner, the organ of the party of the extreme right wing in Russia after 1905, the Union of the Russian People. On the other end of the political spectrum, satirical publications targeting high officials and Tsar Nicholas II flourished in the years 1905 through 1908, though many were short-lived. One count shows 429 different titles of satirical publications during these years.
One outstanding newspaper, Russian Word of Moscow, became Russia's largest daily. Credit goes to the publisher of peasant origins, Ivan D. Sytin, who followed the journalistic road urged on him by Chekhov by founding a conservative daily in 1894 and transforming it into a liberal daily outside party or government affiliations. Sytin was no writer himself, but in 1901 he hired an excellent liberal editor, Vlas Doroshevich, who became one of Russia's most imitated journalists and a prose stylist whom Leo Tolstoy ranked as second only to Chekhov. Doroshevich gained the title king of feuilletonists by dealing with important issues in an engaging, chatty style. As editor of Word, he ordered each reporter to make sense of breaking events by writing as if he were the reader's informative and entertaining friend. At the same time he barred intrusion by the business office into the newsroom, and kept Sytin to his promise not to interfere in any editorial matters whatsoever. Through these journalistic standards, Doroshevich built Russian Word into the only million-copy daily published in Russia prior to the Revolution of 1917.
Pravda, not Russian Word, however, would be the paper that dominated the new order established by Lenin's Bolsheviks. In the early twenty-first century, the front section of the building that housed Word abuts the building of Izvestiia, another Bolshevik paper from 1917 that has, in its post-communist incarnation, become one of Russia's great newspapers. Pravda, the huge Soviet-era daily with a press-run of more than six million, was first and foremost the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR and it perpetuated Lenin's idea that the press in a socialist society must be a collectivist propagandist, agitator, and organizer. Other newspapers during the Soviet era were bound to follow Pravda 's political line, expressed in the form of long articles and the printing of speeches of high officials, and to promote the achievements of Soviet life. Regional and local papers, little distinguishable from Pravda in format, had leeway to cover local news, and specialized papers had scope to introduce somewhat different coverage, as well. In any event, the agitational purpose of Soviet papers meant that Western concepts of independent reporting and confidentiality of sources had no place in journalism in the USSR.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the new Constitution of the Russian Federation, approved by popular referendum on December 12, 1993, recognized freedom of thought and speech, forbade censorship, and guaranteed "the right to freely seek, obtain, transmit, produce, and disseminate information by any legal method." The Constitution prohibited the creation of a state ideology that could limit the functioning of the mass media. Within months, in June of 1994, the Congress of Russian Journalists insisted that journalists resist pressure on the reporting of news from any source.
Russian journalists, working to these high standards, have sometimes paid a price for their commitment to objective reporting. Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, for writing critical dispatches from Chechnya for the small, biweekly newspaper New Gazette, was detained for a period by the FSB, the federal security service, and received numerous threats to her personal security. When Gregory Pasco, the naval officer turned journalist, exposed nuclear waste dumping in the Pacific Ocean by the Russian fleet, a court convicted him of treason. Other Russian journalists who engaged in forthright reporting have been killed under mysterious circumstances.
Major Russian newspapers have not managed to establish their own financial independence, because they are owned by wealthy banks and resource companies closely connected to the federal government. Most newspapers outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg (from 95 to 97% of them, according to the Glasnost Foundation) are owned or controlled by governments at the provincial or regional level. One of their tasks is to assist in the reelection of local officials. Overall, only a handful of newspapers in Russia are independent journalistic voices in the early twenty-first century. On the other hand, controls on journalism in Russia are no longer monolithic, as in the Soviet era, and citizens of the Russian Federation had access to varied sources of news reports in the print and electronic media. The Internet newspaper lenta.ru, for instance, offers coverage comparable to a Western paper.
See also: belinsky, vissarion grigorievich; censorship; chernyshevsky, nikolai gavrilovich; herzen, alexander ivanovich intelligentsia; katkov, mikhail nikiforovich; mikhailovsky, nikolai konstantinovich; newspapers; suvorin, alexei sergeyevich; sytin, ivan dmitrievich; thick journals
Ambler, Effie. (1972). Russian Journalism and Politics: The Career of Aleksei S. Suvorin, 1861–1881. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
McReynolds, Louise. (1991). The News under Russia's Old Regime: The Development of a Mass Circulation Press. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Norton, Barbara T., and Gheith, Jehanne M., eds. (2001). An Improper Profession: Women, Gender, and Journalism in Late Imperial Russia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Ruud, Charles A. (1982). Fighting Words: Imperial Censorship and the Russian Press, 1804–1906. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Charles A. Ruud
RUUD, CHARLES A.. "Journalism." Encyclopedia of Russian History. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404100617.html
RUUD, CHARLES A.. "Journalism." Encyclopedia of Russian History. 2004. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404100617.html
Since the early 1950s, computers have played a major role in journalism and mass communication. As early as 1956, computers were used to analyze political polling data and national election returns.
In the beginning, only the largest media organizations could afford computer-based technology. Today, computers are present in virtually every newsroom in the country. Journalists use computer technology in three major areas: (a) gathering information to be used in news stories; (b) producing newspaper and magazine articles and television or radio newscasts; and (c) distributing news stories and programs to the general public. Prior to the introduction of computers in journalism, news deadlines had to be set early enough for the material to be produced, published or recorded, and disseminated in a timely manner. The use of computers in journalism now allows the very latest news to appear in print or on the air—as well as in online form via the Internet.
Computers Enter the Newsroom
Newspapers began using computers in the early 1970s. These were large mainframe machines designed specifically to be used for copyediting and typesetting to produce the actual newspaper pages. Initially, computers were not used to gather the news, whether for print or for broadcast use.
Computers first appeared in television newsrooms in the early 1980s. As was the case in print journalism, the first television news computers were proprietary machines that, unlike today's personal computers, were designed to perform a single function. One of the first proprietary television newsroom computers was manufactured by Dynatech Newstar. It allowed broadcast reporters to write scripts and read wire stories. Later versions of the program added the ability for newscast producers to organize newscasts and create detailed rundowns of the news program's content.
In the late 1980s, the computer systems shifted from proprietary hardware and software to personal desktop computers as PCs and Macintosh computers became more powerful. Today, virtually all newspaper, television, and radio news content is produced using computer terminals or notebook computers. These computers connect the newsroom with other parts of the media production process. Page layout software—such as Quark Express, Adobe PageMaker, and InDesign—has streamlined the production of newspapers by making it possible for entire pages to be created easily on the desktop. In television, computers can transmit production information, including on-screen graphics and closed-captioning text, directly to the control room for use on the air.
In the mid-1990s, desktop computers became powerful enough to handle the creation of multimedia products such as pictures, graphics, video, and sounds. Just as desktop publishing changed the way page layouts were created, programs like Adobe Photoshop changed the way in which media companies created graphics and pictures. Prior to the use of computers, newspapers used traditional photographic film and chemicals in "wet" darkrooms to create pictures. By the early 2000s, many newspapers used digital cameras to capture photographs and "digital" darkrooms to process them.
Digital Graphics and Audio
In television, the first computer-based graphics and video editing systems appeared in the early 1990s. Like other computer applications, the first systems were based on propriety hardware and were extremely expensive. It was not uncommon for a television graphics computer hardware and application to cost more than $250,000. Early computer-based, or non-linear, video editing programs were equally expensive. Now, programs such as Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere are affordable for many hobbyists, as well as television stations and video production companies.
Non-linear video editing is replacing traditional tape-to-tape editing in which scenes were physically recorded from one videotape recorder to another. With computer-based editing, the pictures can be assembled electronically on a computer screen. Some television stations, such as the Gannett Corporation's WKYC in Cleveland, Ohio, are instituting an all-digital workflow. Video for news stories is converted to a digital format as soon as the reporter gets back to the station after covering an event. The digital video is then available to everyone in the news production process (reporters, photographers, editors, producers, and promotions department) via networked desktop computers. This speeds up the production process and makes it possible for last minute changes to be made in the news programs.
Computers are also used by radio stations to create digital audio. News reporters can edit interviews with newsmakers and add commentary from reporters without having to splice the audiotape physically or record it from one tape recorder to another.
Computer Assisted Reporting
Journalists also use computers to gather information for stories. The term for this function is "computer assisted reporting." For example, reporters can sift through complicated databases, such as census information supplied by the U.S. government to gather specific information about individual communities. Computer assisted reporting can help journalists to spot trends in a community, such as an increase in cancer rates among a certain segment of the population or a decrease in the number of young people who are planning to attend college. Computer assisted reporting can also be used to examine and investigate police statistics, such as the number of traffic citations that have been issued to public officials for which the fines were never paid.
The Internet provides a major source of information for journalists, particularly when they are working on a breaking story. For example, there are several aviation-related web sites that reporters can turn to for current and background information after a major airplane crash. These web sites can help reporters collect technical information about the type of airplane involved and its maintenance history. Many sites are also available to help reporters gather scientific, geographical, historical, and health-related information.
The latest use of computers in journalism is to disseminate information via sites on the World Wide Web. Most major newspapers, television networks, local television stations, and major radio stations have web sites that feature news content. It is possible to "read" almost any newspaper in the world if it is available on the Internet. Newspaper and television companies have tried several business models to make money with their web sites. In early tests, however, most journalism web sites have not been profitable. Surveys indicate that most people are, as yet, unwilling to pay for web-based news content. Many media web sites rely on on-screen advertising for their revenue. In most cases, however, the advertising revenue does not support the cost of producing the web material.
It is difficult to determine what effect computers will have on journalism in the future. A generation ago, only large newspaper companies had the economic muscle to publish a daily newspaper. Today, anyone with a page layout program and access to the World Wide Web can reach readers around the world. Likewise, the high cost of video production used to mean that only television stations and networks could afford to produce programs. The development of affordable desktop video has changed that, too. As Internet bandwidth increases, more and more companies will be able to produce their own video programs and distribute them over the World Wide Web. This is a far cry from those early mainframe computers used on election night in 1956.
see also Architecture; Desktop Publishing; Document Processing.
Himowitz, Mike. "Computer-Assisted Reporting." <http://www.clark.net/pub/mikeh/car.htm>
"Today in Journalism." Poynter Institute for Media Studies. <http://www.poynter.org/>
Hanson, Gary. "Journalism." Computer Sciences. 2002. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401200574.html
Hanson, Gary. "Journalism." Computer Sciences. 2002. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401200574.html
It was, however, from the early 19c to the First World War that journalism enjoyed its greatest influence. Editors were raised to virtually legendary status, their editorials or ‘leaders’ being regarded as models of stylistic elegance and political authority, with an impact on current affairs which has never been surpassed. Especially under the editorship of Thomas Barnes, The Times became such a powerful voice in Britain (promoting the Reform Bill and condemning the Corn Laws) that by 1829 it had earned the sobriquet The Thunderer. Both Samuel Coleridge and Benjamin Disraeli served as leader-writers for the Morning Post, which also published poems by William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, and Rudyard Kipling. Although editors are not so strongly associated with newspapers in the US as in the UK, the names of Ambrose Bierce, A. J. Liebling, H. L. MENCKEN, Lincoln Steffens, and Tom Wolfe are especially notable in American journalism.
Newspapers will do whatever is necessary to catch and hold readers at the level at which they operate. ‘Serious’ or ‘quality’ newspapers cater to a minority with a higher level of education and interest. This minority is willing to read lengthy articles and expects a quasi-literary quality in what it reads. ‘Popular’ newspapers are aimed at the un-literary majority in any area. Many of their readers have no special interest in language and little time or inclination for detail. They also often have a great interest in social events and sport, and in the human side of the entertainment business. There is therefore a greater emphasis on ‘gossip’ and ‘inside stories’ than in the ‘heavies’ (the serious papers), although these also carry more muted versions of the same thing, often in the form of reviews. Adapting to their markets, newspapers differ in physical terms (with preferred formats such as broadsheet or tabloid; preferred headline styles; longer or shorter stories and features) and in the linguistic style that appeals to their target readerships.
The tradition of trenchant freelance political journalism founded by Defoe and continued by John Wilkes in the 18c was maintained in the 19c by William Cobbett and Charles DICKENS. In the 20c, the emphasis has moved from the editors who run newspapers to the entrepreneurs who own them, while new kinds of journalism have developed, contrasting print journalists with radio journalists and television journalists. See HEADLINE, JOURNALESE.
TOM McARTHUR. "JOURNALISM." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-JOURNALISM.html
TOM McARTHUR. "JOURNALISM." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. 1998. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-JOURNALISM.html
journalism, the collection and periodic publication or transmission of news through media such as newspaper, periodical, television, and radio.
The importance of journalism in modern society has been testified to by the establishment of schools of journalism at most of the world's leading universities. The earliest in the United States was established at the Univ. of Wisconsin (1905). Other early schools were at the Univ. of Missouri (1908) and Columbia Univ., whose school of journalism was endowed in 1903 but did not open until 1912. American schools of journalism have proliferated throughout the 20th cent.
Journalism dates at least from the Acta Diurna of Rome (a series of public announcements that can be considered the prototype of the modern newspaper), but it was not until the 15th cent. that the invention of printing made possible its rapid growth. Daniel Defoe has been called the first journalist, as distinct from a writer. Modern journalism, however, began in the latter years of the 18th cent. with each venture serving, as it does in many countries to this day, as the proponent and voice of a political party or social group. Even in the 19th cent. journalists, despite their increased liberties in England and the United States, were largely controlled by political parties.
Except where it is under totalitarian state control, journalism has never been a monolithic enterprise, but has ranged as it continues to do from sensational pseudofact and scandal to high-quality reporting, evaluation, and opinion. Enterprising American newspaper editors in the mid-19th cent. influenced other journalistic media (e.g., the muckraking magazine and the independent periodical).
Technological Advance, Journalistic Change
Changes in journalism in the 20th cent. were fueled by technological advances: the teletypewriter (1904); long-range radio reception (1913); television (1930s–40s); communications satellite (1960s) transmission of data, voice, and video. Almost every new application in communications, data storage and retrieval, and image processing affects the way people get their news. While the influence of the print journalist may have declined in the face of technological advances and the growth of the news agency, radio reporters, such as Edward R. Murrow in the 1940s; television news broadcasters, such as Walter Cronkite from the 1950s through the 1970s; and many later television anchors and reporters became familiar names reporting events as they happened (e.g., the London blitz, funeral of John F. Kennedy, manned moon landing, Gulf and Iraq wars).
By broadcasting events such as the Watergate hearings, controversial Supreme Court nomination hearings, and sensational criminal trials, television has in some ways minimized the journalist. Yet reports by journalists of the World Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation and Cable News Network, owned by Ted Turner and based in Atlanta, are transmitted around the world and provide news to world leaders in times of crisis.
The proliferation of cable television in the United States since the mid-1970s has led to a variety of news channels. As with print journalism, television journalism ranges from sensational, "tabloid" news shows ( "Inside Edition" ) to extensive journalistic coverage and interviews with government figures ( "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer" ) to a cable channel offering live, unedited coverage of congressional proceedings (C-SPAN).
See J. Hohenberg, The New Front Page (1966); A. K. MacDougall, ed., The Press (1972); R. A. Rutland, The Newsmongers (1973); D. Halberstam, The Powers that Be (1979); E. Diamond, Sign Off (1982); P. Seib, Who's in Charge? (1989); E. Case, The Press (1989); E. Bliss, Now the News: The Story of Broadcast Journalism (1991).
"journalism." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-journali.html
"journalism." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-journali.html
jour·nal / ˈjərnl/ • n. 1. a newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity: medical journals | [in names] the Wall Street Journal. 2. a daily record of news and events of a personal nature; a diary. ∎ Naut. a logbook. ∎ (the Journals) a record of the daily proceedings in the British Houses of Parliament. ∎ (in bookkeeping) a daily record of business transactions with a statement of the accounts to which each is to be debited and credited. 3. Mechanics the part of a shaft or axle that rests on bearings.
"journal." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-journal.html
"journal." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-journal.html
A. †diurnal (service-book) XIV; †itinerary; daily record of transactions; record of events XVI; daily newspaper XVIII.
B. part of a shaft or axle that rests on the bearings XIX. — OF. jurnal, jornal (mod. journal), sb. use of journal adj., for earlier jornel :- late L. diurnālis DIURNAL. The development of sense B is unexpl.
Hence journalist XVII (whence journalistic XIX); journalism XIX. journalize enter in a journal XVIII; practise journalism XIX.
T. F. HOAD. "journal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-journal.html
T. F. HOAD. "journal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O27-journal.html
A book or log in which entries are made to record events on a daily basis. A book where transactions or events are recorded as they occur.
A legislative journal is kept by the clerk and is a daily record of the legislative proceedings. Typical entries include actions taken by various committees and a chronological accounting of bills introduced on the floor.
"Journal." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437702465.html
"Journal." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437702465.html
jour·nal·ist / ˈjərnl-ist/ • n. a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news to be broadcast on radio or television. DERIVATIVES: jour·nal·is·tic / ˌjərnlˈistik/ adj.jour·nal·is·ti·cal·ly / ˌjərnlˈistik(ə)lē/ adv.
"journalist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-journalist.html
"journalist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-journalist.html
jour·nal·ism / ˈjərnlˌizəm/ • n. the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television. ∎ the product of such activity: an art critic whose essays and journalism are never dull.
"journalism." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-journalism.html
"journalism." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-journalism.html
"journal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-journal.html
"journal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-journal.html
"journalist." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (September 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-journalist.html
"journalist." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-journalist.html