Journalism is an activity whose main objective is to provide information to the people. The journalist is one who exercises the profession through various means of communication : press, radio and television.
Journalism plays an important social role , as its purpose is to objectively inform the citizen. In this sense, it is often said that it is the “fourth power” because its ability to influence society is really significant.
A relevant aspect is the independence of the means of communication , as they must maintain their informative autonomy in relation to any area of power.
To exercise their profession efficiently, the journalist specializes in a specific area. There is a great diversity of focus: sports, politics, social chronicles, international information, economy, culture, etc. These differences clearly express the most varied sections of a newspaper.
Journalism has some general characteristics. The information transmitted usually refers to the most immediate actuality. An objective and rigorous approach is used (a news story always has to answer what, how, when, where and why something happened). Information sources must be truthful and proven by media professionals before being posted or exposed. News cannot be based on rumors or a simple opinion.
One of the variants with the most social impact and which is in fashion lately is investigative journalism.
Journalists who work in different media are always competing in a professional way, looking for the scoop and exclusive news. This rivalry is part of journalistic culture.
Journalism is an activity that involves some controversy. There are those who consider that its social function is irreplaceable and necessary because a society that is not well informed can be easily manipulated. Other postures emphasize certain approaches that add nothing to the profession such as gossip, sensationalism, biased postures and the lack of true independence.
The role of journalism has been changing in recent years, as traditional communication formats are forced to adapt to technological changes that arise at all times.