STAFF EDITORIAL: What is journalism?

Staff Editorial

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Journalism is a public service meant to inform the people.

Journalists comprise news services, and what they report on gets published or broadcasted there.

This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but people still get confused about what else can or should get published in newspapers. In this editorial, we at The Daily Eastern News are here to explain more.

Journalists are allowed to have opinions, just not in news stories

Something we hear frequently, and something many journalists and reporters preach, is their mission statement to remain objective. Remaining 100 percent objective is impossible for any person.

However, journalists do try to remain neutral. A journalist’s mission is to get all sides to a story and report on the facts. Journalists’ biases and opinions have no place in news stories.

However, journalists for newspapers also publish opinion pieces, such as columns and editorials.

Any good news publication will publish opinion pieces on a clearly labeled opinion page to avoid confusion.

We at The Daily Eastern News publish the words “STAFF EDITORIAL” before the editorials we post online to help, too.

A common misconception people have is that journalists shouldn’t write opinion pieces because it proves they have biases.

Journalists can still report factually and fairly without inserting their own opinions. All humans have opinions; all humans have biases.

Reading opinion pieces in newspapers is actually a great way to learn about new and interesting topics.

No one has to agree with the opinions. If a reader disagrees, that makes for a great opportunity to get dialogue and conversations initiated.

Newspapers don’t advertise for free

Advertising is how newspapers make money, so it’s pretty important. Newspapers cannot promote events unless the organizations hosting them pay for ads to get published.

Journalists don’t promote events or things in the news stories that get published in newspapers. What they do is report on what events people in the public have the opportunity to attend, if they choose.

If journalists promoted anything in their news stories, neutrality itself would be thrown out the window. Journalists report on facts. They don’t promote.

A good way for businesses to support local journalism is to purchase ad space from newspapers, actually. That can help grow small businesses and maintain effective reporting in newspapers. That’s a win-win.

Journalists are messengers

Like we said before, journalists report on facts.

They consider the proximity, prominence, timeliness, impact, conflict and novelty of subjects to report on when deciding what stories to write.

A journalist is a public server; a journalist is a public informer.

There is no room to blame journalists for the negativity of news that aligns with these seven factors they consider.

A common thing people hear is that the news is “too negative.”

If everything is going according to plan, it wouldn’t be news.

Closing thoughts

Journalism is important. It’s necessary for a civil society to function.

It’s a way to report injustice so that justice may be found. It’s a way to shine light on interesting people or things. It’s a way to share new ideas with the community. 

Journalism is pretty awesome.

The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].