Journalism, at its most basic form, is the practice of disseminating news and detailed material to the public through various media outlets. In the past, this was simply through print, radio and television. With the rise of the Internet and the age of information exploded on the Web, journalism is quickly receiving a breath of fresh air.
A Bit of History
The movable type printing invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1456 gave humanity the ability to put into print ideas, stories and books that had always been painstakingly hand-written for centuries. Being able to mass-produce these items meant being able to get one's message out to a larger amount of the population. It was during this time the Bible and other printed books started making the public scene. The first regularly printed and disseminated newspaper was created during this time as well – the Oxford Gazette, which later was named the London Gazette and still is published to this day.
With the arrival of the printing press in the 18th century, the art of journalism truly emerged. The ability to mass produce printed material at a much faster pace meant being able to get news out to the public in an alarmingly quick fashion.
The first officially recognized US newspaper that can be defined within the parameters of what is considered a modern newspaper was the New York Herald, created in 1835 by publisher James Gordon Bennett. The New York Herald was one of the first newspapers to have a staff that was assigned to particular “beats”. The New York Times was founded by George Jones and Henry Raymond in 1851 and is still published to this day.
With the advent of radio and then television, journalists were able to go beyond printed word and spread news and information instantaneously to the general listening and viewing public. While not replacing newspapers and magazines, the overall effect on these news mediums was a drop in readers. Still, the major players were able to persevere even to this day.
The New Kid on the Block
In 1969, ARPA put together the world's first multiple site computer network and started in motion the advent of the Internet. 1992 heralded the birth of the World Wide Web and with this, a new community emerged that comprised of people not normally associated with strictly network researching and developing – it was the general public.
The Web began to encompass many traditional styles of journalistic media – audio, video, and text. As greater access to these capabilities became available to the average Web surfer, non-traditional journalism began to emerge. The rise of the blogger brought personalized and more opinionated news to the Web surfing public.
Connectivity is king in this day and age. Each new piece of technology is followed up with a way to connect it to the Internet. Cell phones, iPods, GPS systems, eBooks and more all have a way to tie into the constant stream of information available in the Web. It may appear, on the surface anyway, that this form of instantaneous information and news would be the official death knoll of the old guard of journalism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most traditional forms of media are quickly realizing the current and future wave and are beating down the Web's proverbial door to get inside. It's now easier than ever to watch favorite news channels, listen to audio broadcasts via podcasting, even read long-time favorite magazines and newspapers from the convenience of one's desktop or laptop. Going even further, these same media outlets are pushed out to cell phones and eBooks. Each new piece of technology that is Internet-capable is yet another venue for the traditional journalist.
Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks
The trick is simply in rethinking old ways. The basic tenets of journalism remain the same – objectivity and neutrality. How the information and news is put out to the public is the only thing that has changed. We are slowly seeing the demise of old-school media outlets – television, radio, and printed mediums – and seeing the rise of new media in the form of the Internet, eBooks and more. It's simply a matter of becoming more technologically savvy and forging on.