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Encyclopedia > Journalists

A journalist is a person who practices journalism.


Reporters are one type of journalist. They create reports as a profession for broadcast or publication in mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, documentary film, and the Internet. Reporters find the sources for their work; the reports can be either spoken or written; they are generally expected to report in the most objective and unbiased way to serve the public good.


Depending on the context, the term "journalist" also includes various types of editors and visual journalists, such as photographers, graphic artists, and page designers.

Contents

Origin and scope of the term

In the early 19th century, journalist meant simply someone who wrote for journals, such as Charles Dickens in his early career. In the past century it has come to mean a writer for newspapers and magazines as well.


Many people consider journalist interchangeable with reporter, a person who gathers information and creates a written report, or story. However, this overlooks many other types of journalists, including columnists, leader writers, photographers, editorial designers, and sub editors (British) or copy editors (American).


Regardless of medium, the term journalist carries a connotation or expectation of professionalism in reporting, with consideration for truth and ethics. It should be added that some journals, such as the downmarket, scandal-led tabloids, do not make great claims to truth or ethical reporting.


18th-century journalists

  • Daniel Defoe - as editor of the Review, he can claim to have invented many of the most popular formats, including the eye-witness report, the travel piece and the strongly opinionated column. Defoe's Review began publication on 19 February 1704 and lasted until 11 June 1713. He was also involved in several other periodicals, including The Master Mercury (1704), Mercator: or, Commerce Retrieved (1713-14), The Monitor (1714), The Manufacturer (1719-21), The Commentator (1720) and The Director (1720-1).
  • Richard Steele - founded and edited London-based periodicals including The Guardian and The Spectator in the early 1700s.
  • Joseph Addison - wrote many of the finest pieces in Steele's publications

19th-century journalists

20th-century print journalists

20th-century broadcast journalists

Internet journalists

  • Ana Marie Cox - works under the name Wonkette, famous for humorous coverage and breaking several stories during the 2004 Presidential Election.
  • Matt Drudge - Active in revelations of the scandals of the Clinton administration, in the United States.
  • Cali Ruchala

Contemporary journalists

There are numerous examples of journalists who made their mark writing fiction or other non-journlism, including:

Production journalists

Despite the fact that many people conflate journalist and reporter, a journalist is anyone who works any editorial aspect of a publications. This includes production journalists such as sub-editors, copy editors, graphic designers, art directors, and photographers.


Graphic designers and art directors who work exclusively on advertising material, however, are not considered journalists.


Fictional journalists

Atributing the profession of journalist to a fictional character allows many possibilities:

  • The action and adventure genres use reporters because they may travel extensively and are supposed not to avoid risks as ordinary people do, but to face them like Tintin).
    • In the superhero subgenre, journalists may be among the first to have news of disasters and crimes. Since they can operate with considerable autonomy out in the field as long they meet story deadlines, it eases complications arising from maintaining a secret identity. Major superheroes like Clark Kent / Superman and Peter Parker / Spider-Man are journalists in their civil lives.
  • Journalists are supposed to explain complex things simply. A clear case is Kermit the Frog in his news-reporter role on Sesame Street, but a journalist character is also useful in a fiction work about a country or a culture strange to an adult public. For instance, Guy Hamilton and Billy Kwanin make sense of situation of Indonesia for the Western viewers of The Year of Living Dangerously, and Ernest Hemingway's alter ego introduces Spain to Anglo readers of Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises).

Besides, many fiction writers like previously cited Hemingway, or Arturo Pérez Reverte, use their professional background as journalists to create their fiction characters.


See List of fictional journalists


See also

External links

  • Canadian Association of Journalists (http://www.caj.ca/)
  • International Federation of Journalists (http://www.ifj.org/)
  • National Union of Journalists (British) (http://www.nuj.org.uk/)
  • Society of Professional Journalists (http://www.spj.org/)

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