The Power of journalism

The journalist’s occupation is a societal occupation: it is a part of the construction of society.

A journalist works with and within power relations that are a part of all societies.

The work involves the use of many kinds of societal power, some of which may be difficult to perceive.

It is easy to notice that an incisively aggravating columnist aims to convince the audience of their cause. Even though a column is an example of a journalistic piece of work in which opinions are welcome and easy to spot, all forms of journalism are susceptible to bias.

Neither news articles nor statistical information whose form seems at first neutral and independent are free from opinions.

All forms of journalism are susceptible to bias.

As journalism involves use of power, journalism also involves responsibilities. It is very important for both the audience and journalists themselves to keep in mind that no article or news piece is produced in a vacuum.

News production is not intention and bias free. A person, or an editorial office consisting of people, has made choices. Should the editorial office be honest and adhere to the ethical code of the profession, the article can be good and impartial.

However, not even good intentions guarantee an end result free of unintentional mistakes.

The first step to critical reading of journalism is to understand that if an article has been published, it does not make it true.

Questions to help with critical reading of journalism:

  1. Who has made the article/news story?
  2. How has the article been made?
  3. Who is the article directed at?
  4. Why has it been compiled? Why is it compiled as it is?
  5. What is its angle?
  6. Who does it represent?
  7. How does it appeal to the receiver?
  8. What kind of reactions does the article encourage the reader to make?

Keep Reading:

The Power of Journalism – Choice of Topics; The Power of Journalism – Numbers and Statistics; The Power of Journalism – Article format
Go back to the beginning of this section: Critical Reading