Journalism is the social work and work-craft, and profession (high-level) of reporting on the events, facts, and people that are the “news of the day,” such that a society is “informed,” to some non-trivial degree. The medium varies, depending on the output format, but gathering, processing, and “dissemination” ([sic. common.] ‘distribution of report,’ svp.), of news, and information related to news, goes to an audience. The word applies to the method of inquiring for news, the literary style which is used to disseminate it, and the activity (professional or not) of journalism.
The media that journalism uses vary diversely and include: content published via newspapers and magazines (print), television and radio (broadcast), and their digital media versions — news websites and applications.
In modern society, the news media is the chief purveyor of information and opinion about public affairs. Journalism, however, is not always confined to the news media or to news itself, as journalistic communication may find its way into broader forms of expression, including literature and cinema. In some nations, the news media is controlled by government intervention, and is not a fully independent body.
In a democratic society, however, access to free information plays a central role in creating a system of checks and balance, and in distributing power equally amongst governments, businesses, individuals, and other social entities. Access to verifiable information gathered by independent media sources, which adhere to journalistic standards, can also be of service to ordinary citizens, by empowering them with the tools they need in order to participate in the political process.
The role and status of journalism, along with that of the mass media, has undergone profound changes over the last two decades with the advent of digital technology and publication of news on the Internet. This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers, smartphones, and other electronic devices, challenging news organizations to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the context in which they publish news in print. Notably, in the American media landscape, newsrooms have reduced their staff and coverage as traditional media channels, such as television, grapple with declining audiences. For instance, between 2007 and 2012, CNN edited its story packages into nearly half of their original time length.
This compactness in coverage has been linked to broad audience attrition, as a large majority of respondents in recent studies show changing preferences in news consumption. The digital era has also ushered in a new kind of journalism in which ordinary citizens play a greater role in the process of news making, with the rise of citizen journalism being possible through the Internet. Using video camera equipped smartphones, active citizens are now enabled to record footage of news events and upload them onto channels like YouTube, which is often discovered and used by mainstream news media outlets. Meanwhile, easy access to news from a variety of online sources, like blogs and other social media, has resulted in readers being able to pick from a wider choice of official and unofficial sources, instead of only from traditional media organizations.