Copyright

The Integrated Components of Journalism

Instructor: Vicki Duke

Vick teaches college Communications, and owns a Public Speaking consulting company.

Journalism contains many components that can work collectively to produce a media product. In this lesson we will examine the steps required to start and complete a journalistic article focusing on questioning, writing, and formatting.

Journalism's Value

The primary purpose of journalism is to inform citizens about events. Such information gives members of a society the freedom to choose who they vote for, what school to send their kids to, etc., based on the information they receive. It is a trusted source for news delivery. Journalism is essential to the endurance of democracy.

Journalists hold a powerful position in the community as they distribute key information and are relied upon for such. Each step they take to produce a journalistic article must abide by the rules and regulations of this form of writing as these writers now have an audience depending on them to relay credible information.

How can journalists succeed in this endeavor? By performing the necessary requirements in drafting a piece of journalism. Let's examine the components required to start and complete a journalistic article.

Questioning

The first step is to assemble and verify facts. This step asks the journalist to gather all the facts from a variety of sources and eliminate the information that cannot be authenticated. This is arguably the most essential step.

Assume nothing is true and go straight to the source to verify your facts. If the information is incorrect, the reputation of the writer is at stake. Ask who, what, where, when, why. Go to many sources.

Writing

The next step is to write the article. Ensure all the facts are given, sources are cited, etc. Quotes are often utilized in journalism for corroboration. Gather all the information being used in the article and begin to write.

Remember, as a journalist, you have an obligation to share information that is truthful and does not contain any subjectivity on behalf of the writer. A piece of journalism does not need an intro or conclusion. It is very different from other forms of writing like academic pieces.

Formatting

Format plays a chief role in journalism. Journalistic articles use the inverted pyramid form to tell a story. The article leads with the most important and crucial information, such as the who, what, where, when, and why. This section summarizes important details, delivering them in a simple form so that anyone reading understands the gist of an event immediately; the goal here is brevity.

The next two sections provide information that is still important but not as noteworthy to put in the opening section. Further paragraphs are reserved for less important details or facts, with the least important concluding the article.

Next, arrange all information in an integrated way. Put most important news at the beginning of the article, finishing with the least relevant information. Cut out any unneeded sentences, words, or quotes. If it doesn't share new information, it is superfluous.

The Inverted Pyramid used in journalism.
pyramid

Example

Let's follow Joe, a young journalist who has just started his career. He receives his first assignment from the network to write a piece on the Supreme Court's decision to rule against abortion. How will he begin?

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