Introduction to Journalism

Here are the facts. This is why they’re important. Details to come later.

Journalistic styles of writing emphasis leading with what happened and the relevance. This is in opposition to many other styles of writing, where we are taught to introduce the topic, then give support for our examples and then wrap it all up and describe why it is important/relevant to the world. Journalists must do the exact opposite, especially in today’s age, because people want instant gratification. If they are reading the news, there is a smaller chance that they will actually take the time to read the entire article, rather than just the first few sentences before getting bored. However, if the author has done their job right the lead should hook the reader in, almost forcing the reader to learn more about the event/story through the details and interviews from real people.

Another important facet of journalism is figuring out how you, as the author, are going to portray the news. Yes, you are reporting on an actual event and thus must stay factual, but how are you presenting the facts, and what’s the point of presenting them at all? This allows the reader to take away more than just what happened, but also the authors belief in the importance in relevance to health or social issues etc.. It is more than just cut and dry tell the reader what happened, it is about making the information and story relatable and generalizable.

As far as formatting goes, journalists must also learn the balance of including detail while being brief at the same time. This is important in terms of today’s tendency of people to get bored and distracted easily, as well as the way newspapers used to be put together. Journalists were given a space and had to adapt the length of their story to fit within that space on a page, editing and cutting it down to the most important aspects so that their entire story wouldn’t be cut.

I am intrigued by journalism because it represent finding the balance between so many aspects of writing, including detailedness and brevity, and facts and opinions. I want to do this as my second experiment because I think it will help me to look at the Stanford Prison Experiment in a new way and will force me to think about how journalists reacted to this experiment, and perhaps more importantly, how they wanted other people to react. I am not sure yet what avenue I want to go down for this journalistic piece. One idea I have is reporting on it as an avenue of expanding knowledge of psychological practices and belief. Another idea I had was portraying it in a positive light, as not many have done, showing that it does have merit for this specific population and maybe look at what might happen if repeated. I think a lot of how I choose to portray it is also dependent on whether I want to write it as a period piece set in the time that the experiment actually happened, or if I want to do a review in present-day which analyzes the experiment in the context of current issues, either in psychology or in society as a whole.

No matter the avenue I choose, I think this will allow me to view the experiment in a new light and hopefully will allow me to share that light with readers.

2 thoughts to “Introduction to Journalism”

  1. Journalism seems like a great genre to experiment with next. I definitely agree that journalists must present the bigger “why” of the news event and be able to keep readers engaged. Presenting it in a positive light would be a cool idea since there are so many negative feelings towards it. It might be easier to do that by analyzing it in present-day and making it almost like a reflection.

  2. I like the new genre you are experimenting with! A lot of what you wrote relates to what I’m writing about which is the different techniques journalists and newsmaker use to grab people’s attention and get more “eyes” on their articles. I agree with Natalie and think writing about it in a positive light would be a really cool avenue. The Stanford Prison experiment is taught in almost every psychology class so I think discussing the positive affects it had on science and learning could be really unique.

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