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The News Media

A Brief History of the News Media


The backbone of the news media is print journalism. In the early, early days the news media was about the basics: news spread via word of mouth. During the Roman Empire governments transferred written accounts, via people, long distances.

Fast forward quite a bit to the invention of the printing press in 1456, which is attributed to Johannes Gutenberg, and you have the beginnings of the mass dispersion of information, i.e. news. Fast forward again, to the 1920s, and we see some of the early developments in news media, as professional journalism standards are created and adopted.

What is Journalism?

Journalism is the reporting of news. And, as I note here, the basics are the 5 W’s: The Who, What, Where, When and Why of a story. Although print journalists adhere to a somewhat strict style of how they present a story, there are various subjects being reported on. If you peruse any major newspaper, like The Washington Post or The New York Times, you’ll notice all the different sections. A good exercise to get a feel for the different types of news being reported is to check out a weekend edition of the big papers -- then you’ll notice there is everything from travel to sports to business to arts to culture.

"Genres" in Journalism

In addition to the various subjects being reported on in journalism, there are also different ways of transmitting the story. In short there are different styles or “genres” of journalism. A few examples include investigative journalism (in which a reporter tries to uncover wrongdoing by following a story almost like a detective); and long-form or narrative journalism, also known as “new journalism” (in which stories are longer and almost prose-like). There is also a rift between features, which may cover a person or a trend, and straight-up news stories, which deliver information directly about something that’s happened.

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