The Power of Journalism – Article format

Presenting the world as news creates simplified, negative and conflict-centered knowledge.

A news article is the most common and standardized of all journalistic story concepts. It includes the smallest amount of the writer’s own opinions or comments, or that is how it ideally should be. A news article also, however, is always written by someone.

Many questions of power and responsibility are related to news production. It aims at intensifying and simplifying knowledge, whose background only seldom can easily be explained. Presenting the world as news creates simplified, negative and conflict-centered knowledge, especially about geographically remote locations.

Article format crams the world into pre-shaped molds.

For example, the news coverage of international news agencies on Africa becomes the topic of discussion every now and then because of the one-dimensional picture, of famine, poverty and war etc., that it paints of the continent. The picture is increasingly incorrect as seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The second form of power is the storification of journalism. It refers to a wide phenomenon of portraying things and events as stories in journalism.

The purpose of journalism is also to entertain and to commit the audiences as readers to the journal. That’s why journalists try to portray things and phenomena in such a form that the readers and viewers become hooked.

When information is made into a story, journalism creates causalities and makes people good or bad, heroes or villains.

When information is made into a story, journalism creates causalities and makes people good or bad, heroes or villains.

Additionally, for example women’s magazines have a tendency to portrait the lives of people they interview in an unreasonably interesting and favorable fashion.

Everyone knows the story format: “she overcome her difficulties with her political career”, “he lived through a hard divorce”.

All in all, when journalistic stories are produced and consumed, it is good to keep in mind that reality is rarely a black-and-white heroic tale which advances smoothly and with a purpose.