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Journalists have a responsibility of making sense of news and information. There are instances where the terms information, news and journalism have been used interchangeably. However, these words are not synonymous. According to (Craft and Davis 70), news has a striking resemblance to information but the two words are very distinct from journalism.
According to (Craft and Davis 73), there is a surplus of information in the contemporary society. The status quo seems advantageous to the individuals who consume news. People may pull all the information available on the internet together. The process of retrieving information in its raw state is laborious with little gain.
Craft and Davis (70) note that journalism entails making sense of information and news. Though information and news have become readily available, the entire population does not have the knowledge and experience that can enable it choose what is newsworthy from the large volumes of information available on various sources, especially the internet. Newsworthiness is concept under journalism which entails determining the prominence of a news story. Journalists have experience in procedures and criteria that are used in selecting pieces of information that are more relevant for their audiences. Successful journalism entails determination of newsworthiness that meets the expectations of the target population
According to Craft and Davis (73), information is a key component of the news. Journalists ‘construct’ news by finding out the events that people are likely to find interesting. Training of journalists entails equipping them with skills to inform, investigate and start conversations that are subsequently used in making judgements on what the news should entail. Journalists have the discretion to determine the methods to use when establishing the newsworthiness of events. Each news item has a certain level of value that is built from its timeliness, impact, currency conflict, emotions, prominence and proximity. Relevancy of information is determined using most of these aspects except timeliness.
Craft and Davis (74) note that an issue that is not of recent vintage loses the quality of news. Once people are informed about the dynamics of an event or issue that is relevant to them, they start giving less attention and look for issues of recent vintage. The contemporary 24/7 media landscape has reduced the amount of time that a news item takes before becoming obsolete. Therefore, news has a deadline. Journalism entails rigorous work of balancing the need to fact-check and verify news before disseminating them; and ensuring that the immediacy characteristic is maintained. People give more attention to news sources that are associated with immediacy. However, journalists that put thorough effort into finding information that is relevant to the events mitigate the challenge of immediacy. Despite the existence of instant sources of news such as television and the internet, printed newspapers are still popular across the world. News sources that permit the highest level of immediacy mainly deliver raw news. It was noted above that the role of journalism is making sense of news and information. After the news are reported, journalists undertake research to come up with detailed information that can help the rest of the population make sense of the news.
The contemporary information era is characterized by availability of vast amounts of information. Journalism entails undertaking processes to identify the most relevant events on the basis of timeliness, impact, currency, conflict, emotions, prominence and proximity. The process is followed by thorough research to identify the most recent information that makes sense of the events.
Craft, Stephanie, and Charles N. Davis. Principles of American journalism: An introduction. Routledge, 2016.
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