Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A return to practice: reclaiming journalism as public conversation

What is the role of journalism in society? Alot of this reading brought up the often contradictory issues surrounding exactly what a journalists role is and what purpose it serves in our culture. The chapter moves into explaining the origanal role journalism played in society. Basically journalism was a " cultural practice" (Tapsall and Varley:40:2001) which survived primarily in the "public sphere" and it's main function was to represent and communicate within society. So what's modern journalism's role and has it differed from what it orginally stood for?
In my eyes, journalism still communicates with its public. It somewhat even allows us as a public sphere to communicate back with new additions to the would-be-journalist:citizen journalism and so on.

It states in the chapter that modern journalism is "independent". This branching from the theory that media institutions were seen as "the fourth estate" (Tapsall and Varley:41:2001) and were independent of the other three estates of the judiciary, executive goevernments and parliament. But it is often argued that the public is left out of this conception, and the media stands primarily in the role as adversary.

I do agree with Gramsci, who noted that " the media take their place alongside other cultural institutions which influence public opinion. The media and journalism are part of thr array of institutions that form culture" (Gramsci:380-1:88). I also think that his concept of "integral journalism" is valid today because most of the news we indulge in allows us to think beyond the basic common sense of readership. Most of us take on an article and pursue it that tiny bit further to give it more substance than whats simplified on paper. Citizen and Public journalism support this notion but can sometimes go beyond the point of being critical.

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