Journalism: Importance and Roles in a Democratic Society Essay
The contemporary society is characterized by the popularity of the various forms of media - Journalism: Importance and Roles in a Democratic Society Essay introduction. Today, we are living in the digital age brought to us by the dynamic technological advances. We are also currently living in the world of mass media wherein news and information are readily handed to us when we turn on our television and radio sets and when we browse on the world wide web. According to Beth Lane (2007), by technical definition, mass media is the channel by which mass communication or message for a large, diverse audience is transmitted.
At present, there are eight mass media industries: books, newspapers, magazines, and recordings, radio, film, television, and the Internet. There are alsovarious types of media such as print media which includes newspaper and other publication materials and broadcast media which includes radio and TV. There is also the emerging type of media that is gradually gaining popularity; this is the online media which includes online blogs, forums and webpage. Mass media plays a very important role in society as a channel of communication.
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Media serve variety of functions to the society such as to inform, educate and to entertain. Media has been part of shaping and reshaping people’s views, beliefs and perceptions. Media are responsible in shaping public opinion and how the audiences will view or take sides on a particular issue. The media shapes the opinions and judgment of people based on their content and on the position which they advocate. Media also represents what is happening in the society. However, there are times that these attributes are not followed by media organizations.
They tend to distort or exaggerate the events. One aspect of mass media is journalism which also serve the same functions aforementioned. Journalism is the proponent of the news and information we saw mostly on mass media. It is the craft of rendering news and information to the public to inform and educate them of what is happening on the society. Journalism also developed into different forms according to the channel of mass media used. Journalism is important in the society for they are the agents that handed us the vital news and information that we need to know.
Without journalism, we will not be able to know the different pieces of information that is of concern of the members of the society. Journalism is also a tool of education as we learn through news items of new trends in the society and different discoveries. It adds to the growing knowledge of the people. In addition, it serves as the fourth branch of the government. The independent body serves as the watchdog of public transactions (Young 2009). However, the clean reputation of journalism is tainted with sensationalism and distortion of information.
There is a greater need for a high quality and good journalism in the society. High quality journalism requires time and money which most of the news organizations cannot provide. Thus, there is a deteriorating commitment on journalism making it more commercialized to obtain funds to keep the organization running (Lewis 2007). There is a greater need to reestablish good journalism in the society as good journalism which is composed of free reporting, deep analysis of news and information as well as the exchange of opinion creates and sustains democracy. Journalism is an integral part of a democratic society.
Walter Lippman who stated, “Press freedom is an organic necessity in a democracy”, supports the importance of journalism (Sparks 2006). Journalism also plays different roles in a democratic society. A democratic society is characterized of freedom of speech and journalism is one of the determinants of this right. These two aspects must go hand in hand to say that a particular society is employing democracy (Sparks 2006). It is also the role and duty of media and journalism to keep the public informed in order for them to make informed decisions and actions on the dilemmas the society is facing.
If the inherent public is not well informed, it cannot make righteous decisions and actions on how the state should be governed (Sparks 2006). Moreover, journalism is the watchdog of the government. Media and journalism attempt to expose every public transaction of the government to inform public of any form of corruption or mismanagement in our government. The government is accountable for the public’s interest and improvement and it is the duty of journalism to be vigilant of the malicious transactions of public officials.
Journalism is also an agent of change. It has the role in the society to deal with the introduction of innovations and inventions. It encourages and fosters public debate for the improvement of common knowledge and understanding of innovation systems. In a democratic society trying to improve their various industries, journalism is dedicated in covering innovation in the society (Hordfords 2004). This type of journalism is still unpopular but very essential to uplift the aspects of the society that is not given the limelight all the time.
Most journalism practitioners give focus on the political arena of the society, this type of journalism give focus on the innovations in the society (Nordfords, 2004). Journalism is an important part of the society and we need to further develop the craft of journalism in the society to keep the roles and functions they perform. There is a greater need to bring back the good and high quality journalism in the society to also bring back the confidence and trust of the public to journalism and to media in general.