Journalism and Society: Making Sense of the Modern World

The word ‘Journalism’ came into use between 1789 and 1848. In our seminar we threw this concept back and forth, and later dated journalism back as far as the late 15th Century. In Martin Conboys’ Journalism: A Critical History he dates the first dissemination of news pamphlets at 1513. Arguably journalism had been around for centuries before in forms of art, storytelling, historians, orators and many more, but only recently has it been used as a device or benchmark by which democracy can be judged.

Can there be democracy without journalism? A quote displayed in our lecture read:

The primary purpose of Journalism is to provide citizens with the information they need to be free and self-governing”

Without certain important information being relayed to the public, it could be said thatjournalism is just another form of propaganda.Journalism poses a power so significant it is often referred to as ‘The Fourth Estate‘. This means that even those in positions of influence are subject to public scrutiny.

Later in the discussion we talked about the modernity of Journalism and how politically, socially and culturally it has moved on in the last 400 years. With the spread of literature and collapse of social classes information has ­became readily available to almost anyone prepared to seek it out. The ease of international mediated communication means that now we are also able to reflect on foreign affairs; a device previously not available to us.

Is journalism still effective? Because of the accessibility of social media across smart phone devices there has been an exponential rise in citizen journalists. For this reason there appears to be a constant need to navigate through the explosion of knowledge in order to find genuine fact. As journalism needs to be put under criticism to ensure the dissemination of fact over opinion it can be said that journalists are invaluable tools to society.