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1. Journalism In American life

Throughout us history, journalism has helped make the government a government "of" and "by" the people.*Political journalism has helped guard against secrecy and government power. So journalism's primary purpose has been to inform. But in different periods, it also has been a powerful persuasive tool.

II recent years, a move by many media industries toward *infotainment, a blur of information and entertainment, has caused many journalists to worry about redefining the essence of journalism.

2. During the early colonial period, journalists were not a separate occupational group

they were editors, postmasters, and elite businessmen who sought to earn a living by printing information and who wanted to play a role in the founding of a new country. These writers were citizens first and intellectuals or commentators second.

This point is important because freedom of expression is not granted to an elite cadre of journalists - it is granted to citizens of the United states. Thus journalists do have rights that ordinary citizens do not have.

Scholars debate how courageous journalists were during the colonial period. Some argue that journalists were quite cautious, rarely challenging the status quo.

Othere point out that despite the fact that governors in the colonies did not like criticism of themselves or the British government, journalists still spoke out.

For example, in 1733, the acquittal of printer john peter Zenger, was charged with seditious libel for openly criticizing the royal governor of new york.

3. Journalists played an important role during the late-eighteenth-century struggle for independence. They not only recounted events but also presented competing ideologies for discussion in the marketplace of ideas.

Chief among intellectuals and editors who challenged British authority was Benjamin franklin. He gained fame for both the lightning rod experiments that later earned him a place in elementary school science books and the "join or die" snake, a graphic representation of the need for the colonies to stick together in their fight against England or else undergo separate deaths.

Later by the time of revolution most printers were notoriously patriotic. A lack of tolerance for diversity of political opinion characterized most communities and printers who remained loyal to the british crown were quickly exile.

The resistance to free expression for everyone during times of stress became a characteristic of American media during the next two centuries, and the media often felt free to demonize and stereotype america's enemies in times of social strife or war.

In 1947 a commission chaired by Robert hutchins expressed the change in society's expectations of the press and system. The Hutchins Commission, funded primarily by Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life, said that the great influence of media and the concentration of ownership required that media be socially responsible.

The commission listed five "Ideal demands of society for the communication of news and ideas"

1. A truthful, comprehensive, and intelligent account of the day's events in a context that gives them meaning

2. A forum for the exchange of comment and criticism

3. The projection of a representative picture of the constituent groups in society

4. The presentation and clarification of the values of society

5. Full access to the day's intelligence

*During the mid-1800 and newspaper journalists began to expose the wrongdoings of city officials and to focus on city services and politics. During the late 1800s reporters established the form of reporting called muckraking unearthing corporate greed and exposing it to the masses.

Muckrakers established the journalism of exposure as a basic tenet of American journalism.

*As the Kodak box camera began to revolutionize public photography after 1900, there were many new opportunities for photojournalism.

*Jacob A. Riis and Lewis W. Hine photographed the photo of the poor and homeless to show what can happen to unskilled workers in an unregulated capitalist economic system

Print journalism



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